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God sends his teachers unto every age, 

To every clime, and every race of men, 

With revelations fitted to their growth 

And shape of mind, nor gives the realm of Tbuth 

Into the selfish rule of one sole race : 

Therefore, each form of worship that hath swayed 

The life of man, and given it to grasp 

The master-key of knowledge, Revebence, 

Enfolds some germs of goodness and of right. 

J. E. Lowell. 




ito fart: 




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855, by 

C. 8. Francis and Company, 

n the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern 

District of New York. 




Constantine, 1 to 23. Virgil's Fourth Eclogue, 12. Christian Sects, 
23 to 52. Constantius, 52. Julian, 54 to 79. Jovian, 79. Valentinian, 
80. Theodosius the Great, 83 to 98. The Later Christian Fathers, 98 
to 128; their opinions and customs, 128 to 184; extracts from their 
writings, 184 to 189. Festivals and Fasts, 189 to 196. Bishops, 196 to 
207. Councils, 207 to 212. Hermits and Monks, 212 to 257. Monas- 
teries, 233. Nuns, 252. Gentiles or Pagans, 257. Jews, 262. Samar- 
itans, 270. Heretics, 272. Gregory the Great, 275. Slavery, 182 to 
184; 189; 280 to 284. Churches, Images, Saints, and Rosaries, 284 to 
294. Christian Sacred Books, 295 to 322. Spurious Books, 322 to 334. 
Nations converted to Christianity, 334 to 345. Separate churches, 345. 


Mohammedan Sacred Books, 380 to 403. 



INDEX 465 




" Whatever errors may have crept in among the simple, yet sublime 
views, published by Christ, the practical moral character of his Gospel has 
always stood prominently above the abstract doctrines. From the first 
publication of Christianity, to this very day, it may be safely asserted that 
no sincere convert has embraced it allured by its creed." — J. Blanco White. 


While internal changes were being gradually wrought in 
Christianity, by the previous opinions of its converts, and 
by the various sects and schools, with which it was con- 
stantly engaged in controversy, important changes were 
also taking place in its relations to the government. The 
emperor Constantius, one of the colleagues of Diocletian, 
had been uniformly tolerant, and even friendly toward the 
Christians, either from humanity, or from motives of policv^^ 
they being numerous in the part of the empire which he 
governed. His son Constantine had been left as a hostage 
at the imperial court, and suffered much from the jealousy 
and tyranny of Galerius. He is said to have been in Nico- 

VOL. in.— 1 A 


media at the first furious outbreak of persecution, and to 
have witnessed the heroic endurance of the Christiana I [e 
afterward commanded the army in Gaul, and, on the death 

of his lather, in the year three hundred and six, when he 
was nearly forty years old, the troops proclaimed him em- 
peror; but rivals were in the way, and battles must be 
fought to decide who should wear the imperial purple. He 

was at that time a worshipper of the gods, and the Sun was 
his tutelary deity. In consequence of the successful termi- 
nation of a war with one of his rivals, he gave public thanks 
in a celebrated temple of Apollo, presented magnificent of- 
ferings, and had coins stamped with Soli } Invicto Comiti: To 
the Sun, the Invincible Companion. Uis situation at that 
period was perplexing. Adherents of the old religion, if 
not the most numerous, were still in possession of power. 
On the other hand, Christianity had become an important 
element in state affairs. The numerous communities, scat- 
tered throughout the empire, were united by the strongest 
of all bonds, that of a persecuted faith, and might be ex- 
pected to serve zealously the interest of any ruler who 
would espouse their cause. The political enemies of Con- 
stantine were also the enemies of Christianity. His rival, 
Maxentius, was diligently employing every means of wor- 
ship and of magic to secure the protection of the gods of 
Kome ; and Constantine had great dread of the elfect of 
such rites. If advantage was to be gained by pursuing an 
opposite course, it would be exclusively his own. He felt 
the need of assistance from some powerful Deity ; and he 
reflected that emperors who had persecuted the Christians 
had generally ended miserably, while his father, who pro- 
tected them, had a happier fate. A recent example had 
occurred in the painful death of Galerius. This was con- 
tinually urged by the Christians ; and Constantine appears 
to have been in a state of mind similar to Ahaz, king of 
Judah, who sacrificed to the gods of Damascus; salving: 
" The gods of the kings of Syria help the?n, therefore will 
I sacrifice to them, that they may help ?7ie." Eusebius, the 
historian, represents him as in a state of conflict ; and the 


fluctuating course he pursued for some time afterward, in- 
dicates the uncertainty of his faith. 

A short time before the great battle, which was to decide 
his destiny, he prayed to the Christians' Grod that he would 
reveal himself, and protect him from his enemies. It is not 
easy to imagine a state of mind more favourable for the ap- 
pearance of omens. It is recorded that, in the course of his 
march, he saw, about noon, a Luminous Cross above the 
Sun, which heretofore had been his tutelary deity. On it 
was inscribed the motto : " Under this sign thou shalt 
conquer." He and his army gazed at the brilliant phe- 
nomenon with astonishment. The following night, he 
dreamed that Christ appeared to him, and showed him a 
cross bearing the monogram of his name, with the assurance 
that, if he assumed it for a standard, he would march to 
certain victory. He sent for Christian teachers, and inquired 
of them concerning their God, and the import of the sym- 
bol. He then caused a standard to be made according to his 
dream, and, under its protection, he conquered Maxentius, 
entered Eome in triumph, and was proclaimed emperor. 
This occurred in the year three hundred and twelve. 

The story is told by Eusebius, Bishop of Csesarea, in his 
Life of Constantine, written after the death of that emperor, 
which occurred twenty -five years after the battle. He as- 
serts that Constantine made the statement to him, in fami- 
liar conversation, many years after the event, and affirmed 
it with an oath. Kuflnus, a celebrated Christian writer of 
the fourth century, states that Constantine saw a flaming 
cross in a dream, and waking up in a fright, found an angel 
by his side, who exclaimed : " By this conquer !" Co tem- 
porary history is silent ; which is remarkable, considering 
that a whole army were astounded by the extraordinary 
vision. It is also singular that Eusebius himself, in his 
Ecclesiastical History, makes no allusion to such a won- 
derful intervention of Deity to change the religion of the 
Eoman Empire. It, however, remained an unquestioned 
miracle for many centuries. But, in modern times, the 
scientific have ventured to inquire of what nature such a 


luminous apparition in the sky could be; and many of the 
religious have felt that Jesus could not have assumed the 

entirely new character of a military protector, without a 
manifest departure from his own pacific maxims. At the 

present day, the miracle is very generally rejected. Some 
consider it a fiction, invented either by Constantino or 
Eusebius, to throw supernatural interest round the first 
union of Christianity with the State. Others more reason- 
ably suppose that the emperor really saw some uncommon 
meteor, and that, as years passed on, the account of it be- 
came greatly exaggerated. Being in an anxious state of 
mind, having prayed that the Christians' God would reveal 
himself, and living at a period when everything was con- 
strued into an omen, or a miracle, the imagination of Con- 
stantine would doubtless have been easily excited, either 
by northern lights in the evening, or a solar halo at noon ; 
and it would be very natural that his dreams should be 
connected with what he had seen. If he subsequently 
adopted the motto, it would readily be added to the mar- 
vellous story in process of time. The probability that 
meteors were actually seen is increased by the statement 
of ISTazarius, a Eoman orator, and a votary of the old 
worship. He pronounced a panegyric on Constantine, nine 
years after his decisive victory, long before Eusebius wrote 
his account of the miracle. He describes a troop of beautiful 
Spirits in the sky, clad in refulgent armour, who were heard 
and seen by the whole army. He says: "It is the report 
throughout all Gaul that armies were seen, who professed 
to be divinely sent ; saying, We want to find Constantine. 
We are sent to his assistance." The flattering orator adds 
that even Divine Beings were ambitious of such distinction, 
and glorified themselves with the idea of fighting for Con- 
stantine. Among the fantastic forms of the Aurora Bo- 
realis, none are more common than shooting streams of 
light, resembling lances hurled across the sky. In that 
age of the world, a supernatural cause would of course be 
assigned for such appearances; and where Greek and 
Roman imagination saw deities descending with brilliant 


spears, Christians in the army could quite as easily perceive 
a luminous cross. 

Whatever might have been the real origin of the story, 
the emperor caused a standard to be made in the form of a 
cross ; and, according to tradition, it was an exact cop}' of 
the one seen in his dream. The shaft was cased with gold, 
and it was surmounted by a golden crown, on which were 
inscribed a monogram, signifying the name of Christ. 
Beneath the crown was a small purple banner, and the 
bust of Constantine, which shared the homage paid by the 
soldiers to their consecrated standard, without necessarily 
bringing them under the charge of idolatry. This standard 
was called the Labarum, the meaning of which is now un- 
known. It was for a long time carried at the head of the 
imperial army, intrusted to the care of fifty faithful guards ; 
and a belief prevailed that no weapon could harm them 
while they were employed in guarding the sacred emblem. 

After the victory over Maxentius, Constantine adopted 
the cross as a kind of amulet, to which he ascribed super- 
natural powers of protection. It was always carried with 
him on important occasions, and he was often observed to 
make the sign of the cross upon his forehead. But his 
proceedings indicate a prolonged uncertainty in his mind, 
as if he were waiting for events to decide what deity would 
prove most powerful to advance his own interests. It is 
likely that during the first years, the old and the new were 
mixed in his mind ; reverence for the ancient worship 
remained to a considerable degree, and struggled with 
the conviction that Jehovah was the greatest of all gods. 
He pursued a very liberal policy toward Christians ; but 
many of his actions were obvious violations of their pre- 
cepts. He set at liberty those who were unjustly im- 
prisoned, and pardoned most of those who had taken up 
arms against him ; but he caused many of his enemies to 
be executed, and put to death the infant son of his rival 
Maxentius. Many of his German captives, whom Eoman 
pride designated as barbarians, were exposed to contests 
with lions and tigers in the circus, for the amusement of 
Vol. 111.— 1* 


the populace; as had been the custom with previous em- 
perors. In the year three hundred and thirteen, lie pub- 
lished an edict of unlimited toleration, in which Christianity 
was recognized as one of the forms in which Deity might 
be lawfully worshipped. The church property, confiscated 
during previous reigns, was restored, and he gave large 
sums of money to the Christians in Africa to rebuild their 
ruined edifices. Those who had meanwhile come into legal 
possession of the land were indemnified. A regular allow- 
ance of corn was granted in each city, to meet the demands 
of ecclesiastical charity. His pious subjects received per- 
mission to bequeath land or money to the church to an un- 
limited extent. The clergy were exempted from taxes, 
contributions, and certain municipal services, which pressed 
heavily on other citizens. Thus the nucleus of an eccle- 
siastical power, distinct from the civil, was introduced 
into the Roman Empire, which had hitherto never known 
an established priesthood. The emperor, in a letter to the 
Bishop of Carthage, assigns, as a reason for these privileges, 
that the Christian Clergy ought not to be withdrawn from 
the worship of God, on which the prosperity of the state 

But while so much favour was shown to the long- 
persecuted faith, entire freedom was secured to other forms 
of religion. The old temples and altars were not only left 
undisturbed, but in many cases were repaired at the ex- 
pense of government ; and orators lauded him for the 
munificence of his donations. His medals and coins still 
bore the image of the Sun, and other emblems of the old 
religion. He did not offer sacrifices to the gods himself, or 
cause it to be done for him by representatives in the pro- 
vinces; but he followed the custom of his predecessors in 
accepting the title of Supreme Pontiff of the old religion, 
and performed many of the public functions of that office. 

In three hundred and nineteen, he published laws in 
which it was declared : " They who wish to remain slaves 
to their superstition, have liberty for the public exercise of 
their worship." " You, who consider it profitable to your- 


selves, may continue to visit the public altars, and observe 
the solemnities of your usage. We do not forbid the 
ancient rites to be performed, provided it be done in the 
open light." This prohibition against secresy grew out of 
the fact that his colleague, Licinius, was disposed to head a 
party in opposition to him and Christianity. Itinerant 
magicians and soothsayers were forbidden to exercise their 
arts ; for Constantine was always unable to overcome his 
dread of having magical rites practised against himself. 
From the same fear of treasonable designs, private consul- 
tation of Augurs was forbidden, and people were not 
allowed to offer sacrifices in houses. If the Augurs visited 
each other's dwellings, they were to be burned, even if they 
urged the plea of friendship. Whoever summoned an 
Augur to his house was banished, and his goods confis- 
cated. But public auguries were consulted by priests at 
the temples, the same as formerly. As late as three hun- 
dred and twenty-one, he passed a law that in case lightning 
struck the imperial palace, or any of the public buildings, 
the Augurs should be consulted, according to usage, as to 
what it might signify ; and that a careful report of their 
answer should be drawn up for his own use. He also gave 
public permission to use magical ceremonies for good pur- 
poses ; such as the prevention of storms, and the preserva- 
tion of harvests. Oracles convicted of fraud were silenced ; 
but otherwise they were not interfered with ; and it is even 
said that he sometimes availed himself of their services. 
Some popular festivals, connected with midnight revels, 
and licentious practices, were interdicted, as dangerous to 
public morals. But, with these exceptions, rites endeared 
to the people by ages of reverent observance, were per- 
formed by the priesthood as usual. Offices of trust were 
impartially distributed between adherents of the old and 
the new religion. All the measures of government indi- 
cated the prudent policy of a statesman, adapting himself 
to a transition state in public opinion, rather than the fresh 
zeal of a thorough proselyte. 

It has been already stated that most of the ancient na- 


tions had a series of seven days, named for the seven planets 
known to them, in which the sun and moon were included 
This does not appear to have been a division of time, but 
to have grown out of certain ceremonies and invocations 
successively offered to the Seven Spirits of the Planets, 
who were universally supposed to have a very powerful 
influence on human affairs. The Romans, following a very 
ancient custom, called our first day of the week Dies Solis, 
the Day of the Sun ; the second, Dies Lunte, the Day of 
the Moon ; the third, Dies Martis, the Day of Mars ; the 
fourth, Dies Mercurii, the Day of Mercury ; the fifth, Dies 
Jovis, the Day of Jupiter ; the sixth, Dies Veneris, the 
Day of Venus ; the seventh, Dies Saturni, the Day of Sa- 
turn. Apollo had gradually become more popular, as an 
object of worship, than Jupiter the Thunderer. As god 
of poetry and eloquence, he was attractive to cultivated 
minds ; as god of prophecy, he had strong hold of the 
reverential and superstitious ; and as god of medicine, he 
wore a friendly aspect to the populace. He was originally 
god of intellectual light, the divine archetype of the sunlight 
of this world; but in the latter days, his worship had be- 
come gradually mingled with Helios, god of the material 
sun. Therefore, it is likely that peculiar ceremonies were 
appropriated to him on Dies Solis. The sun had always 
been the chosen emblem of Constantine. Apollo was his 
tutelary deity ; and, until he was forty years old, had 
always been honoured by him as his invincible protector 
and benefactor. The Sun's Day was therefore consecrated 
both to his heart and his imagination ; and men do not sud- 
denly outgrow long-cherished ideas. One of the earliest 
acts of his reign was to add that day to the list of public 
Festivals; and the following edict was passed: "Let all 
the people in towns, judges, mechanics, and tradesmen, rest 
on the venerated Day of the Sun. But those who are in 
the country may freely cultivate their fields ; since it often 
happens that on no other day can grain be more suitably 
sowed, or the vines set." A large proportion of the sol- 
diers adhered to the old worship. A form of prayer was 


written for them, such as a person of any religion might 
offer for the health of the emperor and the welfare of the 
state. They were required to go into the fields and repeat 
this, at the word of command. In this edict no allusion 
was made to the Sun's Day as connected with Christianity. 
The increasing humanity of the age, to which Christ, his 
Apostles, and those who reverenced their kind and gentle 
morality, had contributed so very largely, was indicated by 
one feature in the law : the courts were closed on that day 
for all purposes, except the manumission of slaves. Mili- 
tary exercises were also prohibited. 

Licinius, who married the sister of Constantine, gov- 
erned the Eastern part of the empire. Jealousy between 
the two emperors resulted in war. Licinius was defeated, 
and peace remained unbroken for several years. He is said 
to have been avaricious and sensual, while Constantine was 
generous, temperate, and virtuous, in all his habits. The 
strict morality enjoined by Christian bishops was probably 
an uncomfortable restraint upon the debaucheries of Licin- 
ius, while, at the same time, jealousy of Constantine's power 
led him to seek popularity with a large class of his subjects 
by throwing his whole influence in favour of the old reli- 
gion. He allowed no one to retain rank in his army un- 
less he consented to offer sacrifices to the gods. He con- 
fined bishops to the care of their own dioceses, and forbade 
them to meet in councils ; probably fearing such opportu- 
nities might be used to his disadvantage. On the ground 
of salutary moral regulations, he ordered that women be- 
longing to Christian communities should be religiously in- 
structed only by deaconesses ; that men and women should 
assemble for worship in the open air, and not meet to- 
gether in churches. He forbade Christians access to the 
prisons, which they had been in the habit of visiting fre- 
quently for purposes of charity and devotion. Finally, he 
ordered their churches in the province of Pontus to be 
closed, and in some cases destroyed. Acts of personal vio- 
lence, and even of martyrdom occurred. The terrified Chris- 
tians fled from the cities, and hid themselves in woods and 



caves. In consequence of these outrages, Constantino again 
took up arms against his brother-in-law. Political rivalry 
was the real cause of strife, but, by force of circumstances, 
it became a struggle for mastery between the old and new 
religions. Licinius solemnly invoked the gods, offered sa- 
crifices, and consulted oracles and divinations, from which 
he received promises of universal empire. Constantine 
marched to the contest with his standard of the cross, and 
accompanied by bishops. He gained the victory, which 
Christians attributed to the prayers of their bishops, and 
the presence of the holy Labarum. Eusebius declares that 
Constantine himself told him that one man, who, in terror, 
gave up the standard of the cross to another, was imme- 
diately transfixed by a spear in his flight, while the bearer 
of the cross passed on unhurt amid a shower of javelins, 
and not a man in its immediate neighbourhood was even 
wounded. This battle gave Constantine undivided mas- 
tery of the Eoman world. He gave orders to spare the 
lives of his enemies, and offered rewards for all captives 
who were brought to him alive ; an improvement on the 
old customs, probably owing to the humanizing influence 
of the bishops. Licinius was permitted to retire to private 
life, and it is said Constantine took a solemn oath to spare 
the life of his sister's husband ; which, however, he failed 
to keep. 

The adulation of the bishops was excessive ; but much 
may be excused in men who had found an imperial pro- 
tector, after such frequent and fierce storms of persecution. 
Eusebius of Cassarea represents him as giving orders for 
battle under the influence of direct inspiration from heaven, 
in answer to his prayers. When the bishops in attendance 
upon him congratulated him as ruler over this world, and 
destined to reign with the Son of God in the world to come, 
he admonished them rather to pray for him, that he might 
be deemed worthy to be a servant of God, both in this 
world and the next. 

He recalled the exiled Christians, restored their confis- 
cated property, and the honours of those who had been 


degraded in state or army. He rebuilt the churches at his 
own expense, and empowered the clergy to receive dona- 
tions of land, as he had previously done in the Western 
parts of the empire. In the proclamations announcing 
these decrees, he expresses the conviction that the only 
true and Almighty God, had, by special interposition in 
his favour, given him victory over the Evil Powers, in order 
that his own worship might, by his means, become univer- 
sally diffused. In one of them he says : " I invoke thee, 
Lord of the Universe, holy God ! for by the leading of thy 
hand, have I undertaken and accomplished salutary things. 
Everywhere, preceded by thy sign, have I led on a victo- 
rious army. For this reason, I have consecrated to thee 
my soul, deeply imbued with love and with fear. I sin- 
cerely love thy name, I venerate thy power, which thou 
hast revealed to me by so many proofs, and by which thou 
hast confirmed my faith." 

With regard to the adherents of the old worship, he says : 
" Let the followers of error enjoy the liberty of sharing 
peace and tranquillity with the faithful. The improving 
influence of intercourse may lead them into the way of 
truth. Let each act according to the dictates of his own 
soul. Let no one molest his neighbour concerning that 
which is according to his convictions. If possible, let him 
profit him by the knowledge he has gained ; if not possi- 
ble, he should allow him to go on in his own way. It is 
one thing to enter voluntarily into the contest for eternal 
life, and another to force one to it against his will. Let 
those who remain strangers to the holy laws of God retain 
their temples of falsehood, since they wish it." He adds 
that " the mighty dominion of error was too firmly rooted " 
to admit of the universal prevalence of Christianity. 

The first instance in which he caused any temples to be 
destroyed, or old forms forcibly suppressed, was in the case 
of certain temples of Yenus, where licentious rites were 
practised. The site of one of these, in Phoenicia, was oc- 
cupied by a new church. There were no Christians in the 
place ; but he sent bishops and a body of the clergy there, 


and bestowed large sums on them for the support of the 
poor ; on the ground that the people might be converted 
to the new faith by doing good to their bodies. The famous 
old Temple of JEsculapius, at JEgae, was destroyed, on the 
charge that impositions were practised on the people by 
cures pretended to be miraculous. He took many objects 
of Art from these temples to adorn the imperial palace, or 
bestow upon his friends. Some of the images were found 
to be so constructed that the priests could enter and speak 
through them. These were exhibited to convince the peo- 
ple of the deceptions that had been practised upon them. 
In order to advance Christians to office, a law was net long 
after passed forbidding public functionaries to sacrifice to 
the gods. The erection of any new images was likewise 

The letters and proclamations of Constantine, after his 
victory, generally betray that temporal success was to his 
mind the strongest evidence of the truth of Christianity. 
With this view of the subject, his recent good fortune could 
not do otherwise than increase his zeal for his adopted faith. 
He studied the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, delivered 
theological discourses, and considered himself competent 
to decide controverted points of doctrine. In this kind of 
warfare it may be fairly presumed that the successful sol- 
dier was guided by his bishops. In his discourses, te 
quoted the Sibylline Prophecies in proof of Christianity ; 
and placed peculiar reliance upon the one purporting to be 
composed six hundred years after the Deluge, in the form 
of an acrostic, making the words, Jesus Christ, Son of God, 

Virgil, who died nineteen years before Christ, was a sort 
of poet laureate to the imperial family of Augustus, from 
whom he received munificent presents. The poets, from 
time immemorial, had sung of a Golden Age, under the 
reign of Saturn. They said when the Iron Age com- 
menced, Astrea, Goddess of Justice, departed from this 
earth, and was placed in the Zodiac, as the constellation of 
the Virgin ; they predicted that the reign of Saturn would 


return, and the Virgin Astrea again live upon the earth. 
During the peaceful and prosperous reign of Augustus, 
Virgil wrote an Eclogue, dedicated to his friend Pollio, 
embodying this universal prophecy. He coupled it with 
the birth of a wonderful child; which scholars sup- 
pose to be a complimentary allusion to some infant about 
to be born in the imperial family. He says: "The last 
age, prophesied by the Cumaean Sibyl, comes. The great 
procession of centuries begins anew. Now the reign of 
Saturn and the Virgin returns. Now a new race is sent 
from the high heaven. Only be thou propitious, O chaste 
Lucina,* to the infant boy, by whom the Iron Age shall 
first cease, and the Golden shall begin throughout the 
world : then may we say thy own Apollo reigns. In thy 
consulship, Pollio, this grace of our time shall enter, and 
the great months shall set forward. * * * * * * He shall 
partake the life of the gods, shall see heroes and demi-gods 
associated, shall himself be seen by them, and shall rule 
the tranquillized world with his father's virtues. For thee, 
boy, the earth shall spread out her offerings. * * * Goats 
shall of themselves bring home their distended udders, 
and herds shall not fear the huge lion. Thy cradle shall 
yield fragrant flowers. Serpents and treacherous herbs of 
poison shall perish. When thou shalt be able to read the 
deeds and praises of thy father, and know what virtue is, 
the plain shall become yellow with waving grain, purple 
grapes shall hang on the rough thorn, and rugged oaks 
distil honey, clear as the dew. * * Every land shall pro- 
duce everything. The soil shall not feel the harrow, nor 
the vine the pruning-hook ; the fleece shall no more cheat 
with artificial hues, but the ram shall imbue his wool with 
rich purple, or glowing saffron, and the grazing lambs shall 
be clothed with scarlet. The Fates have said to their dis- 
taffs : 'Run off these ages!' Loved offspring of the gods, 
great child of Jupiter, advance to the exalted honours 1 for 
the time is at hand." 

* The goddess who presided over birth. 
Vol. III.— 2 


The general features of this Eclogue obviously resemble 
prophecies found in all the Sacred Books, and ancient 
poems, of the world ; while others clearly imply the ex- 
pected birth of some Roman child of regal rank; and the 
empress Scribonia was about to become a mother at the 
time it was written. But Constantine assumed that it pre- 
dicted the advent of Christ, and the establishment of his 
kingdom upon earth. The return of the Virgin he sup- 
posed to be a prophetical allusion to the Virgin Mary. 
This idea was adopted by the Fathers of that age, and 
zealously propagated for centuries. 

At that time a very hot controversy was raging between 
the partisans of Arius and Athanasius, concerning the 
persons of the Godhead. Constantine, or some mild and 
judicious bishop, who dictated his epistle, wrote to the 
contending parties, rebuking them for disturbing the unity 
of the church by agitating such unimportant questions. 
He advised them to copy the prudence and moderation of 
philosophers, who agreed to differ amicably upon abstruse 
questions, and never discussed them in presence of the 
ignorant multitude. He reminded them that as they all 
believed in the same God, and worshipped him after the 
same manner, they ought to meet in a friendly synod, and 
not fall into discord about exactness of expression concern- 
ing minute distinctions ; that each should allow the other 
individual freedom, and agree to remain united in the 
common bonds of Christian brotherhood. He soon after 
issued a mandate summoning bishops from various parts 
of the empire to meet in council at Nice, in Bithynia, for 
the purpose of settling disputed questions. He himself 
met with them, dressed in imperial costume, and took 
an active part in the proceedings. " He exhorted the 
bishops not to lay the foundation of schisms, by mutual 
jealousies, lest they should give occasion to their enemies 
to blaspheme the Christian religion. He reminded them 
that unbelievers would be most easily led to salvation if 
the condition of Christianity was made to appear in all 
respects enviable. Some might be drawn to the faith by 


being seasonably supplied with the means of subsistence ; 
others were accustomed to repair to that quarter where 
they found protection ; others were won by an affable re- 
ception ; others by being honoured with presents ; few loved 
the exhibitions of religious doctrine ; few were the real 
friends of truth. For this reason, they should accommo- 
date themselves to the characters of all ; as skilful physi- 
cians gave to each man what was likely to contribute to 
his cure." He acknowledged the supremacy of the eccle- 
siastical power, in all matters connected with the church, 
by taking a seat lower than the bishops. Eusebius even 
goes so far as to say that he waited for their permission to 
be seated. He invited them all to a sumptuous banquet 
at the palace, where they were received with the utmost 
deference, as representatives of the Deity. Eusebius, 
Bishop of Csesarea, who was one of the guests, describing 
the scene, says : " One might easily imagine that he beheld 
a type of Christ's kingdom." Constantine declared that 
the decrees of this council ought to be regarded as the 
decisions of God himself; "since the Holy Spirit, residing 
in such great and worthy souls, unfolded to them the divine 
will." From this time, the coins and medals of the empire 
began to be stamped with the Standard of the Cross, bear- 
ing the monogram of Christ. 

This complete revolution in the wheel of fortune elated 
some of the bishops beyond the bounds of moderation; 
and it could not have been otherwise, unless they had been 
more than human. In their gratitude for such complete 
security from persecution, and their joy at such rapid and 
unexpected advancement of power, they seem to have re- 
garded Constantine as more than a mortal. But his faith 
in Christianity had been confirmed by external means, and 
it must be confessed that it was rather external in its cha- 
racter. Though he had pledged himself not to put to death 
Licinius, his sister's husband, he caused him to be executed 
about a year after he was defeated. The motives for this 
violation of his oath are variously assigned by his friends 
and enemies. Not far from the same time, and after he 


had manifested so much interest in Christianity at the 
Council of Nice, he caused the young Licinius, his sister's 
son, to be put to death, from motives of political jealousy. 
Crispus, his own son, by his first wife, a young man of dis- 
tinguished talent and bravery, was also suddenly executed, 
without public trial. Secret treason was the excuse given 
for this dark deed ; but of that there was no proof. Some 
attributed it to the emperor's jealousy of his son's great 
popularity ; others said it was domestic jealousy, the em- 
press Fausta having accused her step-son of avowing a pas- 
sion for her. Fausta herself disappeared soon after. The 
rumour went abroad that Helena, mother of Constantine, 
discovered that she had brought a false accusation against 
Crispus, in order to advance the interests of her own sons ; 
and that the emperor had revenged himself by causing her 
to be suffocated in a hot bath. This last crime is doubted 
by some historians, who find traces of Fausta's existence 
some time after her alleged death. A veil of mystery was 
thrown over these transactions at the time, and the truth 
cannot now be discovered. It is, however, certain that 
they produced an effect on the public mind very unfavour- 
able to Constantine. Of course, his own enemies, and the 
enemies of Christianity, were ready to utter sarcasms on 
the religion of a man who had put to death his brother-in- 
law, his nephew, his son, and his wife, while making the 
greatest professions of piety. The populace of Rome be- 
trayed signs of disapprobation ; and some went so far as to 
fasten on the gates of the palace verses in which he was 
compared to Nero. These indications of unpopularity are 
supposed to have caused his determination to remove the 
seat of government to Byzantium ; to which he gave a 
Greek name signifying the City of Constantine ; in Eng- 
lish, Constantinople. In the embellishment and consecra- 
tion of this new Capital, there was the same intermixture 
of the new and the old, which had characterized the be- 
ginning of his reign. Statues of the gods were brought 
from all parts of the empire. Images of Castor and Pollux 
surmounted the Hippodrome. The Goddess of Fortune 


was placed in a shrine on one side of the Forum ; and on 
the other was Cybele, deprived of her symbolic lions, and 
in the attitude of a suppliant, as if praying for the public 
prosperity. When the city was consecrated, the emperor, 
accompanied by a vast procession, rode through the prin- 
cipal streets in a splendid chariot, carrying a golden statue 
of Fortune with a cross in her hand ; and it was decreed 
that his own statue, thus holding the golden image, should 
be annually brought to the foot of the throne to receive 
homage from the reigning emperor. In one part of the 
city, a statue of Apollo stood on a column of three inter- 
twisted serpents. Another, of colossal size, was placed on 
a tall column of marble and porphyry, with a globe and 
sceptre in its hands. The head of Constantine himself was 
substituted for that of the deity who had been regarded as 
the guardian of his youth. No new temples were erected, 
but the old ones remained open for worshippers. Some 
Christian churches were built, but he did not manifest so 
much zeal in the work, as at a later period of his reign. 
When Eome was a republic, she had dedicated temples to 
Faith, Modesty, and Peace. Constantine imitated the ex- 
ample, by dedicating one of his new churches to Sophia 
[Wisdom], and another to Eirene [Peace] ; names with 
which no fault could be found by the votaries of any reli- 
gion. One of the most splendid was dedicated to the Arch- 
angel Michael. 

A distinguished philosopher, named Sopater, who had 
been a disciple of Jamblichus, and afterward head of the 
same school, took up his residence in Constantinople, soon 
after it became the Capital. Some of the Christian bishops 
were the intimate friends of Constantine ; and one of the 
most learned of the Fathers, named Lactantius, had been 
chosen to educate Crispus, his unfortunate son. The Pla- 
tonist was soon admitted to equal intimacy ; and it was 
said he cherished hopes of retarding, if not averting, the 
downfall of the old worship. Constantine delighted in his 
conversation, and on public occasions often caused him to 
sit by his side. This soon excited jealousy on the part of 
Vol. III.— 2* 


the Christian leaders, lest his influence should be success- 
fully exerted over the emperor, if not decidedly in favour 
of the old religion, at least in favour of an eclectic Impar- 
tiality between the old and the new. Constantinople de- 
pended on foreign countries for grain, and it chanced that 
adverse winds long detained the Alexandrian ships, on 
which reliance was placed for a supply. Theurgy was at 
that time much practised by the degenerated school of phi- 
losophers; and a murmur arose among the populace that 
Sopater chained the winds by magical arts. Famine threat- 
ened the city, and it was a favourable opportunity to exag- 
gerate any report to his disadvantage. The favourite be- 
came so odious, that when the emperor entered the theatre, 
the people received him without their usual acclamations. 
Whether he believed that magic had power over the winds, 
or whether alarm for his own popularity induced him to 
sacrifice a friend, is unknown. History merely records that 
the unfortunate Platonist was forthwith beheaded. 

The fluctuating course pursued by Constantine gave rise 
to doubts concerning the depth and earnestness of his con- 
victions, of which votaries of the old worship were exceed- 
ingly ready to avail themselves. It was currently believed 
and reported by them that remorse for the hasty murder 
of his innocent son was what finally settled the question in 
his mind. In his affliction, they said he began to lean 
toward the religion of his youth ; but when he consulted 
the priests, they told him the gods had prescribed no rites 
by which such a crime could be expiated. Others said he 
sought the same relief from Sopater ; but the doctrines of 
Platonism offered no atonement for the guilty. But Chris- 
tians, they said, assured him that the blood of Christ was 
sufficient to wash away all sin ; and that however criminal 
he might have been, faith in its efficacy would secure to 
him an immortal crown. 

Little is known concerning Helena, the mother of Con- 
stantine. Some say she influenced him in favour of Chris- 
tianity, others that he was the cause of her conversion. 
However that might be, her zeal in the cause became very 


conspicuous. Pilgrimages to holy places were favoured by 
the example of all the East. Attended by a devout train 
of men and women, she undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusa- 
lem. An empress, who was seeking for interesting locali- 
ties to endow with her wealth, could not fail to find them 
in abundance. Christian devotees in Jerusalem eagerly 
pointed out to her where Christ was born, where he per- 
formed various miracles, where he was crucified, and where 
he ascended. The footsteps of the patriarchs, the prophets, 
and the apostles, were traced with equal precision. The 
empress-mother gazed on them all with undoubting rever- 
ence, and gave munificent donations to erect churches and 
chapels on the consecrated spots. 

Constantine also made a visit to the Holy City, with 
Eusebius, Bishop of Nicomedia. Eomans had built a tem- 
ple to Yenus on Mount Calvary, which he ordered to be 
immediately demolished. When the earth and stones were 
removed, it was said and believed, that the workmen dis- 
covered the identical tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, in 
which Jesus had been buried. Near by, was found not 
only the cross on which Christ had suffered, but also the 
crosses of the two thieves, and the inscription written by 
Pilate, in three languages. It was not the tendency of that 
age to inquire whether such large and heavy instruments 
of punishment were likely to be buried with the criminals. 
The True Cross, thus discovered, was consigned to the care 
of the Bishop of Jerusalem, who put a portion of it into a 
silver case, and divided the remainder into small fragments 
to be sold to pilgrims. The nails of the cross, the crown 
of thorns, and the spear that pierced the side of Jesus were 
likewise found. It is said that Constantine placed these 
holy nails round the head of his colossal Apollo, at Con- 
stantinople, so arranged as to form a glory, in imitation of 
the halo usually represented round the God of the Sun. 
Over the place where the tomb was discovered, he caused 
a magnificent church to be erected; at first called the 
Church of the Resurrection, afterwards of the Holy Sepul- 
chre. The interior was inlaid with costly marbles. The 


dome was supported by twelve pillars, surmounted with 
silver vases, in oommemoratioD of the Twelve Apostles. 
The roof was overlaid with gold, which shed a resplendent 

light. A court within the church contained the tomb, over 
which was erected a chapel blazing with gold and gems. 
Near Hebron, an oak tree was pointed out as the spot 

wlic re Abraham had an interview with the angels. Some 
polytheistic worshippers had sacred traditions connected 
with it, and had been accustomed to perform religious 
ceremonies there in honour of the Spirits that appeared to 
Abraham ; whose name was held in reverence by several 
Asiatic nations. Constantine caused the place to be puri- 
fied, and a church to be erected there. He also built 
splendid churches at Antioch and Alexandria. At Rome, 
he erected a superb church on the Vatican Hill, occupying 
the site of the circus and gardens of Nero, where early 
Christians had died of lingering tortures. According to 
current tradition, the edifice stood on the very spot where 
Peter suffered martyrdom. Within the enclosure of the 
imperial palace at Rome, called the Lateran, he built a 
church dedicated to the memory of the Apostle John. In 
his zeal to propagate the new faith, it is said he offered a 
white baptismal garment, and twenty pieces of gold to 
every convert; and that twelve thousand men, with a pro- 
portionate number of women and children, were baptized 
in one day at Rome. He granted an appeal from the civil 
courts to the bishops, whose decisions were to be in all 
cases binding. He frequently invited the clergy to his own 
table, even when they were very meanly clad. He never 
went a journey without taking a bishop with him ; think- 
ing it made him more secure of prospering in his under- 
takings. He was accustomed to say that if he should see 
a bishop engaged in any sinful or unbecoming action, he 
would cover him with his own imperial robe, rather than 
have others see him. He affirmed that even Grecian ora- 
cles were compelled to testify in favour of Christians ; that 
after the advent of Christ, Apollo no longer presumed to 
speak through a human voice in the temple, but spoke 


from a deep dark cavern, as if lie had hidden himself. 
Being asked why he did this, he replied: "Because of the 
just men who are now on the earth." When Diocletian 
inquired who those just men were, one of the priests of 
Apollo, who stood by, answered : " They are Christians." 
Constantine declares he was one of the company, and heard 
it ; and he calls upon God to witness it. 

He passed a law to defend Christian converts from 
Judaism, but he found it more difficult to shield them from 
their own dissensions. Council after council was called to 
settle theological disputes, and still the strife went on. He 
wrote to the Bishop of Alexandria, exhorting him to pur- 
sue a peaceful and charitable course toward those who 
differed from him with regard to the Trinity. But he 
satisfied the demands of the bishops by passing very severe 
laws against Manicheans, Marcionites, and other Gnostic 
sects, whose property was confiscated. For many years 
before his death, he would not allow his image to be placed 
in any of the temples. He caused his statue to be made 
with a cross in his hand, inscribed with the motto : " By 
this he conquered." Medals and pictures representing him 
in a devout attitude of Christian worship were distributed 
throughout the empire. Other and better fruits of Chris- 
tianity are also recorded of him. In times of public dis- 
tress, it had been common to expose young children, to 
sell them into slavery, or put them to death. By advice 
of Lactantius, it was proclaimed that the emperor con- 
sidered himself the father of all such children, and would 
support them at his own expense. He encouraged the 
sending of missionaries to distant lands. He diminished 
taxation, ameliorated the penal laws, and made regulations 
for the health and comfort of prisoners; saying it was his 
duty to secure a man who was accused of crime, but not to 
injure him. When slaves were divided among the heirs 
of a deceased person, he forbade the separation of husbands 
and wives, parents and children; a humane regulation, 
which had been previously neglected. 

Though his adhesion to Christianity was finally unquali 


ficd, he did not partake of its sacraments till his last illnesa 
No one was allowed to taste the Lord's Supper till he had 
passed through the purifying processof baptism; and as 
that was supposed to wash away all sin, perhaps Constan- 
tine thought to make sure of eternal salvation by deferring 
a rite so efficacious until he was past the danger of com- 
mitting further sin. Whatever might have been his mo- 
tive, he was not baptized until a short time before his 
death ; which took place when he was sixty-three years 
old, after a reign of thirty-one years. 

In the honours paid to his memory r there was the same 
mingling of religions which had characterized a large por- 
tion of his life. His polytheistic subjects followed the old 
custom of placing the emperor among the deities by solemn 
ceremonies. The medals issued after his apotheosis bore 
his name, with his title " God ;" and on the reverse side 
was the monogram from the Labarum, forming the name 
of Christ. Some of the medals represented him seated 
in the chariot of the Sun, drawn by four horses, while a 
hand issued from the clouds to take him up among the 
demi-gods. Cotemporary Christian writers, very naturally 
blinded by gratitude, exaggerated his really great merits^ 
and eulogized him without limit, and without discrimina- 
tion. The eastern churches kept an annual festival in 
honour of his memory, and added to his name : " Equal to 
the Apostles." 

Niebuhr, in his History of Home, says: "Men judge 
him by too severe a standard, because they look upon him 
as a Christian ; but I cannot regard him in that light. The 
religion he had in his head must have been a strange com- 
pound. The man who had on his coins, Sol invictus, [The 
Sun invincible,] who worshipped polytheistic deities, and 
consulted the haruspices, while at the same time he shut 
up temples, built churches, and interfered with the Council 
of Nice, certainly was not a Christian." Mosheim, in his 
History of Christianity, supposes that Constantine at first 
regarded Christ merely as one of the gods, who had power 
to confer prosperity and happiness on those who honoured 


him, and to punish those who contemned and persecuted 
him ; but that being afterward better instructed in Chris- 
tianity, he became a sincere convert. 

The outward benefits he conferred on the Christian re- 
ligion were perhaps balanced by the rapid degeneracy they 
induced. It became a matter of policy to profess Chris- 
tianity. All classes, princes and beggars, flocked into the 
church, without serious conviction, or proper instruction ; 
and all supposed that the magical waters of baptism had 
washed away their sins. Eusebius reckons as one of the 
greatest evils of that period the indescribable hypocrisy 
of many who pretended to be Christians merely to ad- 
vance their own interests, and who abused the confidence 
of the emperor by their false show of zeal. 


Having thus rapidly traced Christianity from its ob- 
scure origin, through outward perils, I will, as briefly as 
possible, describe the dissensions which arose among them- 

At the outset. Christians had no creed. In the time of 
Irenseus and Tertullian, formularies of faith were written, 
on purpose to exclude the Gnostics ; and catechumens were 
required to give public assent to them before they were 
baptized. The Gnostic sects were therefore outside the 
church. They formed a link between Christianity and the 
old Egyptian, Persian, and Grecian ideas, and were one of 
the agencies by which many of those ideas glided into the 
new religion, and became permanently incorporated with 
it. The heterogeneous elements heaved and tossed wildly, 
before they could be definitely settled into a theological 
form. It would fill volumes to explain all the subdivisions 
of sects on minor points of faith or practice. Asceticism, 
growing out of the old Oriental idea that Matter was the 
origin of evil, began to manifest itself very early in various 
forms. There was a sect called Abelites, who abstained 
from matrimony, in order to avoid propagating original 


sin. They adopted the children of others, and brought 
them up in their own principles. They had great reverence 
for Abel, because he died unmarried, and childless. The 
Aquarians used water instead of wine, at the Lord's Supper, 
and abstained from animal food, because they thought it 
wrong to stimulate or please the senses. The Apostolics 
were also called Eenouncers, because they considered it 
wrong to possess any property, and therefore held all 
things in common. They allowed no married person to 
belong to their churches. 

Quartodecimans. — One of the earliest and most trouble- 
some schisms in the church, after the question of circumci- 
sion was at rest, related to a mere external observance. 
The first Christians continued to keep the Passover as a 
Jewish custom. They ceased to sacrifice a lamb, because 
they observed the festival in commemoration of Christ, of 
whom the Paschal Lamb was supposed to be a type ; thus 
Paul says: "Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us." 
Jews observed the first day of the first full moon, after the 
vernal equinox, on whatsoever day of the week it happened 
to fall ; and Christians, in the Eastern part of the Eoman 
empire, long continued to do the same. In the Western 
part, they formed the habit of keeping it the Sunday fol- 
lowing the first day. They did this partly because Christ 
rose on Sunday, and partly because there was an increasing 
disposition to distinguish themselves from the Jews. Thus 
it happened that while some churches were mourning for 
the crucifixion, others were rejoicing over the resurrection. 
In the second century, the dispute grew very warm. The 
Bishop of Rome excommunicated the Eastern churches. 
Polycarp remonstrated with him, and alleged that the day 
they kept was the same he had himself observed with the 
Apostle John. Synods were in vain called to settle it. 
Those who kept the fourteenth day were called Quartode- 
cimans, and regarded as heretics by the churches of Italy. 
It was considered a question grave enough for the interven- 
tion of the emperor ; and Constantine sustained the Coun -i ! 


of Nice in deciding that it should always be kept on the 
Sunday following the full moon. 

Montanists. — In the middle of the second century, 
Montanus, an illiterate bishop in Phrygia, preached a stern 
and fervid kind of spiritualism, which attracted many fol- 
lowers. In most respects, his doctrines were the same as 
those of the Christian Church. But he differed in main- 
taining that every true believer in Christ, whether man or 
woman, received direct inspiration from the Holy Ghost ; 
in support of which he quoted Joel's prophecy : " I will 
pour out my Spirit upon all flesh ; and your sons and your 
daughters shall prophesy." He considered Judaism as the 
infancy of religion, Christianity as its youth, and the more 
advanced state, attained by full and general reception of 
the Holy Ghost, was its manhood. He himself claimed to 
be an inspired prophet, sent by God to lead the church into 
a stricter life, and prepare it for the millennium, which he 
painted in glowing colours, and as nigh at hand. He had 
prophets and prophetesses in his train, whose wild and pas- 
sionate preaching excited paroxysms of devotion in them- 
selves and their hearers. This pouring out of the Spirit 
upon Christians of all conditions, they regarded as one of 
the strong proofs that the end of the world was approaching. 
Maximilla, the associate of Montanus in his preaching, said 
expressly : " After me, no other prophetess shall arise ; but 
the end shall come." Tertullian thus describes one of these 
inspired women : " There is a sister among us indued with 
the gifts of revelation by an ecstasy of spirit, which she 
suffers in the church, during the time of divine service. 
She converses with angels, and sometimes also with the 
Lord. She sees and hears mysteries, knows the hearts of 
some, and prescribes medicines to those who need them." 
After the assembly was dismissed, her visions were taken 
down in writing; and much information concerning the 
invisible world was supposed to be gained from them. 
Montanus, when describing the prophetic power, repre- 
sented the Lord as taking away the souls of men, and 
Vol. III.— 3 b 


giving them souls ; as saying : " The man is a lyre, and I 
sweep over him like a plectrum. The man sleeps, I wake." 
To him, and to his two leading prophetesses, he said God 
had imparted the fulness of his Spirit ; whereas Paul con- 
fessed that he only knew in part, and prophesied in part. 
Epiphanius charges a branch of the Montanists with making 
women bishops and presbyters ; sustaining the custom by 
Paul's words: u In Christ Jesus there is neither male nor 

The morality of this sect was very rigid. They con- 
sidered all recreations and pleasures of the senses sinful. 
They lived abstemiously, and kept prolonged fasts. Those 
who devoted themselves to prophecy generally left their 
wives and husbands ; considering a life of celibacy the only 
way to become perfect recipients of the Holy Spirit. They 
regarded marriage as a spiritual union, to be continued in 
another life ; therefore second marriages were considered 
unlawful. They likewise deemed that a marriage was not 
valid unless performed in a church, in the name of Christ. 
"While they thus reverenced the union of souls, they re- 
garded the earthly relation as a necessary evil, which ought 
to be conscientiously restrained within certain limits. They 
considered the rite of baptism so important that they even 
baptized the dead. 

Their preachers were accustomed to make rousing ap- 
peals to sinners, denouncing upon them the vengeance of 
God, and making terrific pictures of eternal torment, in 
contrast with the most luxurious pictures of Christ's king- 
dom upon earth. They held human learning in great con- 
tempt, and considered the study of philosophy, or classic 
literature, as a participation in idolatry. 

Their leaders forbade them to avoid persecution, or to 
hold communion with any who did. Those who fled from 
the storm, or purchased safety by any concession, however 
slight, were regarded as recreant to Christianity, and ene- 
mies of Jesus. Their preachers said: "Let it not be your 
wish to die on your beds, in the pains of child-birth, or in 
debilitating fever; but desire to die as martyrs, that he 


may be glorified who suffered for you." This, combined 
with eloquent descriptions of the glory and happiness of 
martyrs, to which the soul could attain by no other process, 
produced among them such a rage for martyrdom, that 
they rushed needlessly into danger. They considered them- 
selves the only genuine Christians, and carried on hot con- 
troversy with all others, by whom they in their turn were 
much disliked. Tertullian became a Montanist, and abused, 
in unmeasured terms, the church he had left. They were 
subdivided into sects ; one of which was accustomed to use 
bread and cheese at the sacrament. They were for some 
time a very troublesome element in the church. They en- 
countered a good deal of persecution, and had almost dis- 
appeared in the fourth century. 

Donatists. — The leading characteristics of the Monta- 
nists reappeared in a sect which caused far more deadly 
strife than any that had yet been excited. Donatus, a Nu- 
midian bishop, agreed with the church in most matters of 
faith, but took the ground that no one could be a Chris- 
tian who had at any time, or in any way, evaded persecu- 
tion ; that no ordination was valid, if performed by such 
a person ; and no person was free from stain who had re- 
ceived the sacraments from such hands. All the bishops 
of Europe and Asia were pronounced more or less infected 
with this sin, and thus the true apostolic succession was 
broken. On this ground, they disputed the election of the 
Bishop of Carthage, and refused to submit to his authority. 
They maintained that they were the only true Christians ; 
being the only ones who had not in some way connived at 
apostacy. Councils were called to decide the matter, but 
the Donatists treated their decisions with scorn. An im- 
perial decree from Constantine met with the same fate. A 
military force was sent to compel them to submit to the 
laws. They were driven into exile, their property was 
confiscated, and their churches sold or destroyed. Perse- 
cution had its usual effect, to increase zeal and strengthen 
obstinacy. The Donatists defied the army, as they had the 


bishops and the emperor. Now, for the first time, Chris- 
tians began to shed each other's blood. The African cities 
became scenes of massacre and licentious outrage. The 


Donatists were treated with horrible cruelty, and retaliated 
with savage barbarity. They exulted in their sufferings, 
and eagerly rushed upon martyrdom. The church was 
bent upon subduing or exterminating them, and justified 
excessive cruelties by the example of Moses and Elijah, 
who had slain unbelievers by thousands. When Donatists 
took possession of churches that had been used by their 
opponents, they washed the pavements, scraped the walls, 
burnt the altars, and melted the plate ; if they found any 
of the consecrated bread, they threw it to the dogs, with as 
much horror as if they had been purifying a temple of 
Venus. They even cast out of their burying-grounds the 
bodies of those whose practice had not conformed strictly 
to their views. All who joined them were re-baptized ; if 
bishops or presbyters, they were re-ordained ; if men or 
women pledged to celibacy, they were obliged to renew 
their vow. In vain Constantine tried to heal the schism by 
an edict of peace. The warfare continued during his life- 
time, and for a long time after. One hundred and seventy- 
two bishops of Africa belonged to this stern sect. Their 
discipline and style of preaching resembled the Montanists. 
They sang fervid hymns to wild and passionate melodies, 
and fiery outbursts of scriptural eloquence excited their 
hearers to the highest pitch of enthusiasm. There were at 
that time swarms of devotees, or monks, called Circumcel- 
lions, who wandered about, obtaining subsistence by beg- 
ging from the peasants. These joined the Donatists in large 
numbers, and spread consternation throughout the African 
provinces. At first, they took only what was necessary 
for their subsistence ; but growing bolder, they plundered 
at will, and punished the slightest opposition with death. 
Christian priests, whom they took prisoners, were tortured 
with every refinement of cruelty ; churches were demol- 
ished, dwellings burnt, and whole provinces desolated with 
murder and pillage. As monks, they were vowed to per- 


petual chastity; but the doctrine of spiritual perfection pro- 
duced the same results as in other ages and countries. The 
resistance of nature to the arbitrary constraint imposed upon 
her, combined with the idea that saints could not be pol- 
luted by any external actions, resulted in paroxysms of fu- 
rious licentiousness. Captives taken in war were subjected 
to the most brutal outrages, and their army was followed 
by troops of women raised above earthly contamination by 
their state of perfected sanctity. Several of the Donatist 
bishops, finding remonstrances altogether fruitless, applied 
to the civil power for aid against these lawless allies, who 
refused to be governed or restrained by the church. The 
government resorted to various modes of treatment at dif- 
ferent times. Constantine, having in vain tried to compel 
them to submit, had recourse to a system of complete tol- 
eration, and wrote to them in a strain of kind, paternal ad- 
vice. His successor attempted to win them over to unity 
with the established church by expostulation and liberal 
distribution of money ; to which they scornfully replied : 
" What has the emperor to do with the church ?" The 
members of their party were forbidden to receive any pres- 
ent from the reigning powers. The corruptions resulting 
from the union of the church with the state became the 
favourite theme of their eloquence. They traced all de- 
generacy to the splendour and luxury of the times, and 
railed at bishops whose ambition or avarice led them to 
flatter princes. They declared that the Lord had sent 
them as his delegates to purify the church, and redress the 
wrongs of the oppressed. Their leaders were called Cap- 
tains of the Saints, Sons of the Holy One. Sometimes they 
dropped their own names, and took religious ones; such 
as Deum Habet, Grod with him. Each carried a huge club, 
which they termed an Israelite, and their battle cry was, 
Praise be to God ! The Christian doctrine of human equal- 
ity and brotherhood, they attempted to enforce with blind 
and reckless violence. They released all debtors from 
prison, and cancelled all debts. Any creditor who refused 
to comply with their demands, was sure to have his pro- 
Vol. III.— 3* 


perty destroyed, and was fortunate if he escaped with his 
life. They gave freedom to all slaves who resorted to 
them, and revenged whatever cruelties they had Buffered, 
If they met a wealthy man riding, they compelled him to 
walk, and placed his slave in the chariot. 

All conciliatory measures having failed, force was again 
employed against them, but only served to kindle their 
zeal into a more furious blaze. Many of their bishops and 
clergymen were put to death, and horrible tortures were 
inflicted on the Circumcellions who were taken prisoners 
in battle. These outrages were fiercely retaliated on all of 
their opponents who came into their power. They rushed 
upon danger with savage joy, impatient for the glorious 
crown of martyrdom. They profaned temples by un- 
clean acts, interrupted festivals, broke statues, demolished 
churches, and carried off the church plate, on purpose to get 
executed. If other means failed, they sometimes resorted 
to self-inflicted martyrdom. Having indulged awhile in 
feasting, and all kinds of revelry r they appointed a day, 
and in the presence of assembled friends, they burned 
themselves, or threw themselves from a steep precipice, or 
employed some one to kill them. They justified these pro- 
ceedings by the example of Kazis, as recorded in the Book 
of Maccabees. They never used swords, because Peter 
was commanded to put up his sword ; therefore, they beat 
out the brains of their victims with a club. 

In process of time r the Donatists split into sects j the 
small fractions still claiming to be sole depositories of reli- 
gious truth, the only faithful disciples, whom Christ would 
find worthy to share his kingdom, at his second coming. 
This schism raged, more or less furiously, in Africa, for 
three hundred years, and ceased only with Christianity 
itself in those regions. 

The Logos. — Another schism, more universal, and 
which became scarcely less virulent, seemed for a time 
destined to rend the church into fragments. It has been 
already stated how the doctrine of the Logos conflicted ia 


many minds with preconceived ideas of the unity of God. 
Christians called Ebionites, who retained the original Jew- 
ish ideas, did not accept the doctrine at all ; nor does it 
appear that they ever heard of it. The idea of The Word 
of God, by which creation was produced, was familiar to 
every reader of Genesis ; and Jews were accustomed to 
speak of him under the name of Memra ; but they never 
seem to have associated him with their ideas of the Mes- 
siah. Some of the EbioDite Christians thought Christ was 
a reappearance of Adam, who was the Son of Adam Kad- 
man, the Primal Man ; and in that sense, perhaps, they 
called him the Son of Man. But they generally consid- 
ered him like other mortals in all respects, except superior 
holiness and stricter adherence to the Law of Moses. This 
idea of a merely natural birth appeared also among various 
Gentile sects. The Gnostics supposed that Jesus was a 
man, but so pure that some great Spirit, emanating from 
the highest existences, had descended and united with his 
soul at baptism. About a century before the time of Con- 
stantine, Artemon, at Kome, gave name to a sect who de- 
nied the divinity of Christ. Theodoret says : " Artemon 
taught that Christ was a mere man, born of a virgin, and 
excelling the prophets in virtue. He said the Apostles 
taught this ; but those who came after them made a God 
of Christ, who was not God." His followers spread into 
Syria, and continued to propagate their doctrines till far 
into the third century. 

Paul of Samosata, Bishop of Antioch, in the middle of 
the third century, maintained that the Logos bore the same 
relation to God, that reason did to man ; that it was a 
divine attribute, not a person. The doctrine of the incar- 
nation he rejected altogether. He said that the divine 
reason, or wisdom, operated in Christ in a more perfect 
manner than it ever had in any other man; so that he 
was the Son of God in a sense that no other medium of 
divine wisdom had ever been. He denied that he existed 
before his human birth. By his being with God before all 
time, he merely understood that his existence was predes- 


tined in the reason, or wisdom, of God. Paul had power- 
ful opponents and zealous friends. After a contest of a 
few years, he was finally obliged to yield to the decision 
of the Bishop of Rome, by whom he was deposed for 

Marcellus, Bishop of Ancyra, and Photinus, Bishop of 
Sermium, were deposed for teaching similar doctrines in 
the fourth century. Athanasius says: "Their followers 
denied the preexistence of Christ, his divinity, and his 
everlasting kingdom." Other Fathers describe them as 
teaching that the "Logos was in God, as his reason or 
wisdom;" that "he was a divine energy inhabiting him 
who was the son of David ; not a subsisting person." Eu- 
sebius says: "They gloried in acknowledging but One 
God." Photinus is eulogized as a man of genius, learning, 
and powerful eloquence. He was persecuted and con- 
demned solely for his doctrines. His moral character stood 
very high. Hilary says : " Though excommunicated, he 
could not be removed, on account of the affection the peo- 
ple had for him." Sozomon says: "Though banished, he 
continued to defend his opinion, and wrote books in Greek 
and Latin, to prove all opinions false except his own." 
Jerome says: "He endeavoured to revive the Ebionite 
heresy, and wrote many volumes, chiefly against the hea- 
then." Basil requested that persons might be sent from 
Rome to condemn the heresy of Marcellus, which had in- 
fected some of the leading men in his own diocese, and was 
gaining many proselytes in Asia Minor. The Fathers 
record that heretics boasted the number of books written 
by these men. But none of them have come down to our 
times; being diligently destroyed, according to the usual 
practice. There was also a sect founded by one Theo- 
dotus, a leather-dresser. They believed that Christ had 
grown up from the beginning under the special guidance 
of the Holy Spirit; but they conrplained that the distance 
between him and God had not been sufficiently marked by 
the church ; that he was a man, on whom God had be- 
stowed his wisdom in larger measure than on any other 


messenger he had sent, and therefore he was preeminently 
called the Son of God. 

Against those who maintained Christ was merely a holy 
man, their opponents cited passages to prove that Peter, 
Paul, and John, acknowledged him as God, and that he 
himself declared he was one with the Father. They sus- 
tained the extreme antiquity of the doctrine by reference 
to the oldest church teachers and the most ancient hymns. 
Pliny's letter is also evidence that the Christians in Bithynia 
worshipped Christ as God, in the time of Trajan. Some 
went so far as to assert that Christ was the one undivided, 
Supreme God; that he was called the Son merely with 
reference to his manifestation in a human body ; that Jeho- 
vah was God invisible, and Christ was the same God visi- 
ble. In proof of which they quoted the words of Jesus : 
"He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." This doc- 
trine was as shocking to many pious minds, as the total 
denial of his divinity ; because it involved the inference 
that God himself was buffeted, scourged, and crucified. 
In • controversy with these opposite modes of preserving 
the unity of God, the doctrine of the Trinity gradually 
grew up and unfolded itself. 

Sabellians. — Sabellius, a Christian teacher at Ptolemais, 
in the year two hundred fifty, was a zealous advocate for 
the unity of God ; but he differed from his predecessors in 
admitting the Holy Ghost into his theory. He said, Father, 
Son, and Spirit, were not persons, but merely different 
manifestations of the Godhead: a three-fold relation of 
God to the world. He compared the Father to the sub- 
stance of the sun ; Christ to its illuminating power ; and 
the Spirit to the warmth of life imparted to believers. His 
followers laid great stress on Christ's saying: "I and my 
Father are one." This view of the subject attracted many 
minds, and excited great opposition. Athanasius com- 
plains that in some places Sabellians prevailed so much, 
" the Son of God was hardly preached in the churches." 
Epiphanius says that "Sabellians, in their zeal for the unity 


of God, would ask plain simple men, 'Well, my friends, 
have we one God, or three Gods?' And when a pious 
person, not sufficiently on his guard, hears this, he is 
alarmed, and, by assenting to their error, denies the Son 
and the Holy Spirit." 

In their eagerness to refute Sabellius, and at the same 
time preserve the unity of God, some took the ground that 
there was an essential difference between the Father and 
the Son ; that the Son was inferior in power, and less in 
glory. This was substantially the same doctrine taught 
by Origen, and other early Fathers of the church. 

Arians. — Arius, a presbyter in the church at Alexan- 
dria, about the year three hundred and eighteen, striving 
to refute Sabellius, maintained the distinct personality of 
the Son, and the Holy Spirit ; but wishing to preserve the 
unity of Deity, he maintained that the Father alone was 
self-existent; that there had been a time, inconceivably 
remote, when he dwelt alone, and undeveloped. That by 
an effort of his will, he created his only Son, out of noth- 
ing, ages before the world was made. He was the Logos, 
the "express image of God," and all other beings were 
immeasurably beneath him; but he was inferior to the 
Father, and was employed by Him in the creation of the 
Universe. He said the Holy Spirit was the first Being cre- 
ated by the Logos, and was as subordinate to him as the 
Son was to the Father. The term Logos had been originally 
applied to the Word, or Wisdom of God, and was of course 
a portion of God. In the time of Arius, it had become gene- 
rally applied to Christ ; and he, adopting it as he found it, 
represented the Logos as a distinct created being. Tertul- 
lian had declared, half a century before, that there was a 
time when God could not be called Father, because there 
was a time " when the Son was not." But Arius lived at 
a period when the church was coming into established 
power; when learned, acute, and energetic men were 
labouring with all their ability to lay firmly and securely 
a corner-stone of doctrine that would settle forever the 


perplexing question, how a being who ate and drank, was 
tempted and troubled, suffered and died, like mortals, 
could be a man, and be at the same time God. The state- 
ment of Arius brought all the elements of controversy into 
intense activity. He very soon numbered two bishops, 
seven presbyters, and twelve deacons, among his followers, 
and their doctrines spread rapidly throughout Egypt and 
Syria. In their progress, they gave rise to curious ques- 
tions whether the Son of God was begotten, or made; 
whether he was of the same substance with the Father, 
as Gnostics, and other believers in emanations, had always 
said, or whether he was of a dissimilar substance. The 
clergy were greatly annoyed by these new impediments to 
the unity of the church ; and they were the more vexed 
with Arius, because in controversy with the Gnostics they 
had very particularly guarded against separation of the 
Godhead ; all the Gnostics being ready to admit that Christ 
was a powerful and glorious Being, but subordinate to 
God. Those who wished to avoid participation in the 
quarrel found it exceedingly difficult to pursue a neutral 
course. Hilary, Bishop of Poictiers, says: "If I preach 
God according to the Law, the Prophets, and the Apostles, 
Sabellius is upon me, ready to devour me whole. If, 
preaching against Sabellius, I acknowledge that the Son of 
God is truly God, the new heresy waits for me, and tells 
me that I preach two Gods." Most of the clergy were bit- 
ter in their animosity. Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, 
promulgated an anathema against " the impious Arius, the 
forerunner of Antichrist, who had dared to utter blasphe- 
mies against the Divine Redeemer." 

After a struggle of six years, the famous Council of Nice 
was called, in three hundred twenty-five, to settle the ques- 
tion. The public establishment of post-horses was placed 
at the disposal of the clergy. Three hundred and eighteen 
bishops assembled, besides a large company of presbyters 
and deacons; and great was their exultation when the 
emperor Constantine signified his intention to be present 
and take part in the discussion. In the course of the argu- 


merit, some of the members, striving to prove that th< 
was not a separate Being from the Father, applied to him 

the Greek word Ilomoousios, meaning of the same sub- 
stance. This proved a battle-cry. The eontrover 
excited seemed interminable. Discussions concerning the 
substance of God, and whether the Son was begotten Of 

made, shocked some pious minds, who feared they might 
tend to produce very material views of Deity. Every wind 
of doctrine was astir. The Council was in session two 
months. At last it was decided that Christ was " the only 
Son of God; begotten, not made ; consubstantial with the 
Father; through whom everything has been made in hea- 
ven and on earth ; that he was God of God, light of light, 
very God of very God;" that there was a substantial, in- 
dissoluble union between the perfect God and a perfect 
man ; that this mode of existence could not be explained 
by human language, or illustrated by human ideas ; it was 
to be believed, not understood. 

The opponents of Arius were completely triumphant. 
His confession of faith was torn to pieces in his presence ; 
his writings were condemned, and an imperial edict was 
issued commanding every one, on pain of death, to deliver 
them up to be burned. He was solemnly anathematized 
by the Council, banished by the emperor, and especially 
forbidden to enter Alexandria. The verdict was signed 
by nearly all the bishops. Three, who refused at first, 
were intimidated by Constantine. Two who persevered in 
refusal, were condemned with him, and followed him into 
exile. Eusebius of Caesarea yielded reluctantly, and final- 
ly sent the creed to his diocese with a careful explanation 
of the word Homoousios, to guard against material ideas 
of God. This was the first warfare in the church strictly 
on points of faith ; and from this time may be dated the 
practice of requiring the unquestioning assent of every 
Christian to articles of belief established by votes of the 

But notwithstanding Arianism was discountenanced by 
the emperor, and formally condemned by such a powerful 


Council, it still continued to spread. Synod after synod 
was in vain called to suppress it. The emperor's sister, 
Constantia, was an Arian, and exerted her influence to 
convince him that Arius was a good man, and ought to be 
recalled from banishment; and in this she was aided by 
his friend, Eusebius, Bishop of Nicomedia. Arius also 
sought to conciliate him by writing another confession of 
faith. It was principally composed of texts of Scripture ; 
and every one engaged in polemical controversy soon 
learns that the same words of Scripture may be used by 
several individuals, to each one of whom they convey a 
different significance. The string of texts was considered 
by Constantine a satisfactory acceptance of the creed estab- 
lished by the Council of Nice. Arius was recalled to 
Constantinople, where a Council had been held in which 
his party predominated. Alexander, Bishop of that city, 
refused to allow him to commune with his church. Con- 
stantine commanded him to administer the Eucharist to 
Arius on the following Sunday. The bishop manifested a 
strong inclination to disobey the imperial mandate. The 
Arians threatened to force their way into the church. The 
Homoousians, no longer sustained by the civil power, in 
which they had lately exulted, prayed to God for the scat- 
tering of their enemies. While the bishop was thus kneel- 
ing in prayer before the altar, Arius was triumphantly 
escorted through the principal streets of the city toward 
the church. On his way, being suddenly seized with pain, 
he was obliged to leave the procession for a few moments. 
His friends, after awaiting his return for a time, sought for 
him, and found him dead. His enemies ascribed it to the 
vengeance of God, for his " blasphemous heresies ;" while 
his friends whispered of poison. From some of the circum- 
stances, it appears not unlikely to have been a deadly at- 
tack of cholera. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, the 
able leader of the Homoousian party, compared his disease 
to that of Judas, whose treacherous example he accused 
him of having imitated, in his readiness to degrade Christ. 
He was accustomed, ever after, to bring forward the sudden 
Vol, III.— 4 


death of Arias as a sufficient refutation of his heretical 

doctrines; an argument Likely to have great weight, when 
all such visitations were regarded as direct punishments 
from Heaven. The Bishop of Constantinople, relieved 
from the presence of his popular rival, set apart a day for 
thanksgiving in the churches ; but it professed to be for 
escape from external violence, not for the death of an 

The mind of Constantino, though habitually credulous, 
was not so affected by this event as to turn again in favour 
of the Homoousians. He became displeased with Atha- 
nasius, whom he accused of arrogant behaviour. He sent 
him into banishment, from which he refused to recall 
him, till he was on his death-bed ; and he then manifes- 
ted his own predilections by receiving baptism from the 
hands of his friend Eusebius, the Arian Bishop of Nico- 

Arius seems to have been inadvertently drawn into this 
warfare by his zeal to establish the personality of the Lo- 
gos, in opposition to the theory of Sabellius. His enemies 
have recorded that he was a man of learning, and of blame- 
less morals, graceful in person, fluent in conversation, subtle 
in argument, and eloquent as a public speaker ; but they 
add that ambition and craftiness were concealed under his 
quiet and simple manners. Even if no more than the 
favourable portion of the statement were correct, he might 
well be considered a formidable antagonist. 

For forty years after his death, Arianism and Athana- 
sianism were alternately patronized by the government. 
Arianism received the sanction of several numerous coun- 
cils, and during two reigns it was the religion of the impe- 
rial court. The scales of destiny seemed to fluctuate in 
deciding whether or not it should be the established creed 
of the Christian world. Which ever party was in power, 
the strife went on. Both aimed at supremacy; and the 
extensive power and wealth now employed in the control 
of the Christian church was a prize too important to be 
divided or risked by mutual toleration, Sometimes, differ-. 


ent portions of the empire were divided between the fac- 
tions. While Athanasius ruled supreme in Alexandria, 
Antioch and Constantinople were under the sway of Arian 
bishops. Eival councils were held, one denouncing what 
the other had decreed. Every election of bishops occa- 
sioned popular tumults, which the emperor was often 
obliged to quell by military force. Athanasius was some- 
times hiding himself in deserts and tombs, sometimes es- 
corted through the illuminated streets of Alexandria in 
triumphal procession. 

That the leaders of the two theological parties should 
have been strongly interested in such abstract questions is 
easily accounted for, whether we believe they were entirely 
actuated by a sincere conviction of their importance to the 
spiritual welfare of the church, or whether we suppose them 
to have been influenced, more or less unconsciously, by am- 
bition to win a game where the patronage of emperors was 
the prize. But it seems marvellous that questions so purely 
metaphysical, so entirely above the reach of human reason, 
should have proved so exciting to the populace. Gregory, 
Bishop of Nyssa, describing the state of Constantinople, 
says: "Every corner and nook of the city is full of men 
who discuss incomprehensible subjects; the streets, the 
markets, the people who sell old clothes, those who sit at 
the tables of the money-changers. If you ask a man who 
deals in provisions, how much you are to pay for his arti- 
cles, he replies by dogmatizing on generated and ungen- 
erated being. If you inquire the price of a loaf of bread, 
you are answered that the Son is subordinate to the Father. 
If you ask whether the bath is ready, you are told that the 
Son of God was created out of nothing." 

Everything, great or small, was pressed into the service 
of this polemical war. There were old Greek tunes much 
in vogue with the populace. Sailors, millers, and almost 
every class of artisans, had some of these airs, which they 
habitually sung in the streets, with words appropriate to 
their various trades. When Christianity began to prevail, 
some of these tunes were naturally used as vehicles of the 


new form of religious sentiment. Anus composed hynnw 
adapted to them, which became very popular. Haifa cen- 
tury later, Chrysostom found the streets of ( onstantfnople 
still resounding with his praises of the self-existent Father 
and the created Son. The heretical sounds were so offen- 
sive to his cars r that he trained a band of ehoristers to at- 
tract the populace by singing hymns to the co-equal dignity 
of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 

Adherents of the old worship of course exulted in these 
dissensions, which betrayed so much uncertainty of faith 7 
and were carried on in a manner little calculated to sus- 
tain the claim of a superior moral standard among Chris- 
tians. These incessant disputes between sects, often about 
mere hair-splitting distinctions, and the mutual disposition 
to blacken each other's characters, became such a laughing- 
stock with the unbelieving portion of the populace,, that 
comic representations of them were given in the theatres 
of Alexandria, Constantinople, and other cities. 

But so many tragic scenes were connected with this pro- 
longed dissension, that one has no heart to smile at such a 
melancholy waste of intellect and feeling. Constantinople 
was the stronghold of Arianism. When the Arians were 
in power, they tolerated all the smaller sects, but main- 
tained unalterable animosity against the Homoousians, 
whose religious meetings were interdicted. Gregory of 
ISTazianzen, being invited to that city, held meetings at the 
house of one of his kinsmen. The Arians were provoked 
by this intrusion on their premises. After much skirmish- 
ing of words had mutually passed, each party accusing the 
other of preaching a plurality of Gods, a crowd of Arians, 
joined by such portions of the populace as are always 
ready to mingle in some affray, broke into the meeting and 
dispersed it by their violence. According to the descrip- 
tion of the scene given by their opponents, there issued from 
the church of Sophia [Wisdom], then an Arian cathedral^ 
a mob of "common beggars, who had forfeited their claim 
to pity ; of monks, who had the appearance of goats, or 
satyrs ; and of women more terrible than so many Jeze- 


bels." Much damage was done with sticks and stones, and 
one man was killed. 

An Arian bishop was sent to take the place of Athana- 
sius, in Alexandria. The people opposed him with vio- 
lence. Military force sustained his claims, and the streets 
became a scene of tumult and bloodshed. The adherents 
of Athanasius, compelled by government to submit, avoided 
any connection with the bishop thus imposed upon them. 
Vexed by their obstinacy, he sought to compel them to 
receive the sacrament from his hands. To effect this pur- 
pose, he sent many into banishment, and caused some, 
among whom women were included, to be scourged with 
rods, or beaten with clubs. 

Paul, an adherent of the Athanasian party, claimed to be 
rightfully elected Bishop of Constantinople. The Arians, 
who constituted a majority, denied his claims, and sup- 
ported Macedonius. The dispute spread till the whole city 
was in an uproar. The Arian emperor Constantius sent 
troops to expel Paul. The Homoousian portion of the 
populace rose against them, and fought so savagely, that 
their commander took refuge in a house. The mob imme- 
diately set it on fire. They afterward murdered him, and 
dragged his mangled body by the heels through the streets. 
After heaping all manner of insults upon the corpse, they 
threw it into the sea. When Macedonius, the Arian bishop, 
came guarded by soldiers, Arians and Athanasians rushed 
pell-mell to see which could first obtain possession of the 
cathedral. Three thousand one hundred and fifty persons 
were killed. Streams of blood overflowed the porticoes 
and courts of the church, and Macedonius was compelled 
to pass over heaps of bodies to ascend the episcopal chair. 
Paul, the deposed bishop, was carried in chains to a wild 
town in the deserts of Mount Taurus, where he is supposed 
to have died. The Upmoousians sought to avoid all rela- 
tions with the detested bishop, as they had done in Alex- 
andria. But children were seized and baptized. The 
virgins of the church were burned with hot iron, or cruelly 
pressed between boards, to compel them to partake of the 
Vol. III.— 4* 


sacrament from the hands of an Arian bishop. Other re- 
luctant victims had their mouths forced open with a wooden 

Arian bishops, assembled at Sardica, were accused of 
burning churches, of imprisoning Athanasian bishops, 
making them suffer with cold and hunger, and wounding 
them with swords. They published a protest against these 
charges, in which they, in their turn, accused Athanasius 
of pillaging Arian churches; slaying the people, even 
bishops ; compelling them, by various modes of torture, to 
partake of "his sacrilegious communion;" of "raging in a 
tyrannical manner during the holy season of Easter," and 
inciting the magistrates to scourge and imprison all who 
kept it on the day of the Jewish Passover. 

It is painful to dwell on these scenes of outrage, so often 
repeated and so long continued. Behind them seems to 
rise the mild, benevolent countenance of Jesus, his eyes 
suffused with tears. And all this was done to settle a ques- 
tion concerning the substance of God ! A question forever 
placed beyond the comprehension of finite minds. If the 
struggle had been for toleration, the principle of freedom 
involved would have done much to ennoble the contest, 
though not to excuse the excesses. But both parties in- 
sisted on supremacy, and disdained to accept of anything 
short of that. Both were zealous, obstinate, intolerant, and 
violent. We have a more full record of Arian outrages ; 
for they were eventually the conquered party, their writ- 
ings were generally destroyed, and their story is mainly- 
told by theological enemies. Many good men, on both 
sides, mourned over scenes so humiliating and injurious to 
the Christian name. There were various attempts to obtain 
a truce ; and concessions would perhaps have been made 
and received, had not the unfortunate word Homoousios 
stood in the way. The inflexible Athanasius would not 
listen to changing a single letter of the Nicene Creed. If 
one grain of sand were let into the wall, he foresaw that a 
stream would pour in and upset the embankment. To 
preserve the unity and authority of the established church 


was the ruling object of his life ; and he pursued it with a 
remarkable degree of ability, courage, and perseverance. 

The Arians were more pliable. Before the year three 
hundred and sixty-six, they had published sixteen profes- 
sions of faith ; but none of them satisfied the demands of 
the Athanasian party. Yarious shadings of opinion, con- 
cerning the degree of resemblance between the Son and 
the Father, crept in among them ; partly originating in a 
desire to find some ground to meet upon for cessation of 
hostilities. At last, there arose a party called Anomasans, 
from Greek words meaning no similarity. They not only 
denied that the Son was of the same substance as the 
Father, but declared that there was no similarity between 
them ; that Christ was merely the most perfect of creatures, 
whose mission it was to conduct other creatures to God. 
The opponents of Arians cried out exultingiy that such a 
result was the natural consequence of the principle they 
had established at the outset. Arians themselves were 
shocked, as sects always are, when any of their members 
venture to go a little further than themselves have gone. 
They publicly disclaimed the Anomseans altogether ; but 
they continued to be reproached none the less for the doc- 
trines taught by them. Sects multiplied, and different 
branches of Arians vilified each other as heartily as they 
had ever denounced the Homoousians. 

The Holy Ghost. — At the Council of Nice, the doc- 
trine concerning the Third Person of the Trinity was ex- 
pressed in very vague and general terms ; for it had not as 
yet taken shape in the minds of men. The Montanists 
gave him prominence by the continued inspirations they 
professed to receive directly from the Holy Spirit ; and the 
Arian controversy whether the Son was generated by the 
Father, and consequently of the same substance with him, 
naturally gave rise to similar queries concerning the Holy 
Ghost. Arius regarded him as the first being created by 
the Son, and as far removed from him in dignity and 
power, as the Son was from the Father. Afterward, many 


of the Semi- Arians supposed him to be a sort of Archangel) 
created by the Sun. as an agent for carrying into effect the 
divine purposes. Some sects regarded him merely as "the 
sanctifying energy of tin- Father and the Son;" but he was 
generally regarded as a persona! Being. Gregory of Nazi- 
anzen, who wrote near the end of the fourth century, says: 
" Some of our theologians consider the Holy Spirit to be a 
certain mode of the Divine agency ; others a creature of 
God ; others God himself. Others say they do not know 
which of the opinions they ought to adopt, out of reverence 
to the Holy Scriptures, which have not clearly explained 
this point." Macedonius, a Semi-Arian Bishop, denied that 
the Holy Ghost was any portion of God. He averred that 
he was a creature ; and that the Scriptures contained no 
sufficient evidence of his divinity. He sustained himself 
on Paul's assertion: "There is one God, the Father, of 
whom are all things; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom 
are all things." The Athanasians denounced him and his 
followers, as " impugners of the Spirit." The Macedonians 
maintained their ground, and the sect increased. The con- 
troversy waxed warmer and warmer, and the church saw 
in it another warning to establish rigid formulas, and allow 
reason no room to move in the close fetters of ecclesiastical 
authority. Before the Council of Nice, the Doxology, 
" Glory be to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," had not 
been introduced into the churches ; but in some places, it 
had been customary to ascribe " Glory to the Father, through 
the Son, and in the Holy Spirit." Indeed, up to this period, 
ideas concerning the Third Person of the Christian Trinity 
seem to have been as indefinite as those of the New Pla- 
tonists concerning the third principle of their Trinity, which 
they called The Soul of the World, and denned to be the 
animating and pervading principle of all things. A Council 
of Bishops was called at Constantinople, in three hundred 
and eighty-one, to deiine more closely the doctrine of the 
Trinity. To the Creed of Nice they added : " I believe in 
the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth 
from the Father; who, with the Father and the Son to- 


gether, is worshipped and glorified." During the warmth 
of this controversy with Maceclonius, Flavian us of Antioch 
shouted out, in the midst of the church service :' " Glory to 
the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost !" The cele- 
brated Basil, Archbishop of Csesarea, likewise commenced 
the practice of singing, " Glory to the Holy Spirit !" in his 
churches ; but he complains that he was much blamed for 
it. He says of his opponents: "They would sooner cut 
out their tongues, than say, Glory to the Holy Spirit. This 
is the cause of the most violent and irreconcilable war with 
us. They say glory is to be given to God, in the Holy 
Spirit ; not to the Holy Spirit." He adds that it was the 
subject of universal discussion, "even by women and 

After the Council at Constantinople had decided what 
ought to be believed, it was deemed as heretical to doubt 
the divinity of the Holy Ghost, as it was that of the Son. 
Chrysostom says : "He who halts with regard to the Spirit, 
cannot walk upright with respect to the Son." Gregory 
of Nazianzen says: "Whoever maintains that any of the 
Three Persons is inferior to the others, overturns the whole 
Trinity." Basil the Great says : "To deny the divinity of 
the Holy Spirit is the sin against the Holy Ghost." The 
Macedonians, though generally denounced, were admitted 
to be of exemplary character. Gregory of N azianzen says : 
" We admire their lives, though we do not approve their 

Apollinarians. — Apollinaris, ordained Bishop of Lao- 
dicea, in three hundred and sixty-two, was highly esteemed 
for his virtues as a man, and his acquisitions as a scholar. 
He entered zealously into the controversy against the 
Arians, and sought to explain the Trinity by comparing 
it with the three-fold nature of man ; viz : his rational 
soul, his sensuous soul, and his body. Origen had taught 
that Jesus was a perfect man ; and that the Logos of God 
united himself to his rational soul, and thus imbued him 
with supernatural power. Apollinaris thought such a 


union implied two persons in Christ; as indeed it was 
generally objected to, as making four persons in the Trin- 
ity, lie therefore varied the doctrine by teaching that the 
Logos constituted the rational soul of Christ; that God 
himself was united to the sensitive soul and the material 
body of a man. The superior soul of Christ was the Logos, 
the fulness of the Godhead ; his inferior soul was employed 
in the meaner functions of mortal life. He taught that 
Mary was to be revered as the spiritual mother of Christ, 
but he did not believe that his body was derived from her. 
He supposed it descended from heaven, and was conse- 
quently incapable of passion, change, or decay. His plan 
of redemption was also peculiar. He said the sensuous 
soul was always striving against the rational soul ; and the 
human rational soul was too weak to subject to its own 
power this inferior resisting soul. To redeem mankind 
from sin, it was therefore necessary that an immutable 
Divine Spirit should enter into the sensuous soul, and take 
the place of the human rational soul. When the Logos 
ruled over the lower soul, and brought it into complete 
subjection to himself, harmony was restored between the 
higher and lower principles of man's nature, and thus the 
original destiny of human nature was realized. He main- 
tained that worship was due to the sensuous soul thus 
united to the Logos in one person ; and was accustomed to 
use such expressions as that "God was born," or "God 

These doctrines were condemned by the same Council 
that condemned the Macedonians. Apollinaris, however, 
formed a congregation of his adherents at Antioch, and 
appointed a bishop. The sect spread into neighbouring 
countries, and a society of them existed in Constantinople; 
but they were never numerous. 

Pelagians. — Pelagius is said by some to have been an 
English monk. He resided at Rome in the beginning of 
the fifth century, when the doctrine had begun to prevail 
extensively that God had predestined a certain number of 


human souls to be saved, and a certain number to be 
damned. He rejected this theory, as alike disparaging to 
the mercy and the justice of God. He also denied that 
human souls were implicated in the sin of Adam, and con- 
sequently did not admit the efficacy of baptism. He said 
the will of man was free, and his nature capable of attain- 
ing to all the Christian virtues, if he had an earnest pur- 
pose to do so ; for Divine assistance always came to the 
aid of human endeavours after holiness. He sought upon 
all occasions to demonstrate the inefficacy of faith, unless 
accompanied by works. He wanted to banish mysticism, 
and to make religion an indwelling principle, for the prac- 
tical improvement of character. In his time, both clergy 
and laity had become a good deal corrupted, and he exert- 
ed all his influence to raise the standard of morals among 

Pelagius was a man of great learning, and his theologi- 
cal opponents bear testimony to his unspotted character. 
Even Augustine, whose doctrines he most diametrically 
opposed, admits that in conduct he was "eminently a 
Christian." His opinions excited a lively controversy, in 
which Jerome was peculiarly violent. He never attempted 
to form a sect, but his writings influenced many minds. 
They were pronounced heretical by several synods, anathe- 
matized by the Bishop of Rome, and formally condemned 
by the Council at Ephesus. 

Nestorians. — After the Arian controversy gave rise to 
discussions concerning the substance of Christ, the name 
of Mary became more prominent than it had previously 
been; and among the emphatic modes of asserting his 
divinity, it became common to style her the " Mother of 
God." But this phrase was not pleasing to all ears. Nes- 
torius, Patriarch of Constantinople, in four hundred twenty- 
eight, was highly esteemed for the austerity of his morals, 
and celebrated for the fervour of his preaching. One of his 
presbyters said, in the course of a sermon: "Let no man 
call Mary the mother of God; for she was human, and 


God cannot be born of «*i mortal." This remark offended 
some of his hearers, and excited much discussion. When 
the presbyter was charged with being a heretic, Nestorius 
defended him, and expressed hia own disapprobation of the 

phrase; alleging that it was unsanctioned by the Apostles, 
and well calculated to remind people of the genealogies of 
some of the Roman gods. In the course of his objections, 
he made the blunt statement that " a child of two months 
old could not be God." He began with merely disapprov- 
ing of the phrase then in use, because it seemed to him 
irreverent toward Deity ; but having roused opposition, he 
found himself compelled to define his position distinctly. 
Being a devout believer in the divinity of Christ, yet 
shocked at the idea that God could be born of a woman, 
he sought to obviate the difficulties that arose in his mind, 
by supposing that two distinct natures existed in Christ, 
the one divine, the other human ; that they were not uni- 
ted by nature, but by his will. He admitted a spiritual 
union between the Logos and the mortal man, but by no 
means a personal union. He said Mary was to be revered, 
because she had prepared a temple for the Logos to dwell 
in. This temple was the humanity, which became exalted 
to divine dignity by unity with the Logos, and formed one 
Christ ; but she was not the mother of the Logos. Thus 
an angel might be united to a human being at the moment 
of conception, but the mother of the body was not the 
mother of the angel. 

This theory excited violent animosity. Cyril, Bishop 
of Alexandria, zealously maintained that the divine and 
human natures in Christ were indivisible from the moment 
of conception ; consequently, Mary did give birth to God, 
and ought to be reverenced as the Mother of God. He 
summoned a synod to anathematize Nestorius. Still more 
violently was he assailed by Rheginus, Bishop of Constan- 
tia, who preached against him as a heretic worse than Cain 
and the Sodomites. He said the earth ought to open and 
swallow him up ; fire ought to descend from heaven and 
consume him ; the God-Logos, whom he had dared to sever, 


who had come forth from the flesh of Mary, the Mother of 
God, would condemn him to an eternity of torment, when 
he came to judge the wicked. He concluded by saying : 
" Let us worship the God-Logos, who has condescended to 
walk among us in the flesh without separating himself from 
the essence of the Father." A general Council was sum- 
moned at Ephesus, in four hundred thirty-one, which de- 
cided the question thus : " As in God, the Father, Son, and 
Spirit are three persons, but one God ; so in Christ, the 
Godhead is one person, and the manhood is another per- 
son ; and yet they are not two persons, but one person." 
Nestorius and his adherents were treated with great intol- 
erance and harshness throughout the whole of the proceed- 
ings. He was deposed and condemned ; and Cyril of Alex- 
andria caused the verdict to be exultingly proclaimed by 
heralds throughout the city. Kestorius retired to a mon- 
astery in Syria. But his enemies, the bishops, fearing his 
influence on the Syrian churches, obtained an edict of ex- 
ile from the emperor. He was dragged about by soldiers 
from one place of banishment to another, till, enfeebled by 
age and accumulated misfortunes, he died in the deserts of 
Thebais. The manner of his death is unknown. Perse- 
cution followed him beyond the grave. A church histo- 
rian of the period recorded that " his tongue was gnawed 
away by worms, and that he went to another world to be 
gnawed eternally by the worm that dieth not." He was 
compared to Simon Magus, Porphyry, and Arius. The 
bishops demanded that all his writings should be burned. 
An edict was proclaimed to that effect ; and any person 
who ventured to preserve a copy was rendered liable to 
severe penalties. His followers were forbidden to hold 
meetings for worship, and were henceforth to be called 
Simonians, in allusion to Simon Magus. They spread into 
distant countries, formed large congregations, appointed 
bishops of their own, and established an independent 

Every new heresy that was broached produced an oppo- 
site new heresy, in the effort to counteract it. In opposi- 
Vol. III.— 5 c 


tion to Nestorius, Eutyches maintained that Christ had but 
one nature; that even his body W9B of a divine, incorrupt- 
ible substance, which existed without being created, and 

was incapable of passion, pain, or change. He wa 
proached with believing in a phantom; and in return, he 
ridiculed his opponents for ascribing the necessities of hu- 
man nature, even nutrition and digestion, to the Godhead. 
A Council was called at Chalcedon, by which Eutyches 
was condemned and excommunicated. He had numerous 
followers, who formed a sect called Monophysites, from 
Greek words meaning one nature. They maintained that 
the divine and human natures were " united in Christ in 
one nature, without change, mixture, or confusion." The 
church asserted that the two natures were " united in one 
person, without change, mixture, or confusion ;" and this 
was established as orthodox doctrine by the Council held 
at Chalcedon. It requires an intellectual microscope to dis- 
cover a difference between the statements; but theologians 
have a microscopic vision. The question whether Christ 
was of two natures, or from two natures, disturbed the peace 
of the churches for a long time ; giving rise to fierce alter- 
cations, sometimes resulting in bloodshed. When it was 
announced in assembled council that the creed of the church 
was settled unalterably, it was received with shouts : " On 
this depends the salvation of the world I" 

Chiliasts. — During all these centuries of conflict con- 
cerning the nature of Christ's divinity, the believers in an 
earthly millennium, called Chiliasts, were also a disturbing 
element. Montanists, Donatists, and members of various 
sects, preached the doctrine with great zeal. Nepos, a 
bishop in Egypt, wrote a book against those who spirit- 
ually interpreted the predictions on that subject in the 
Apocalypse. His book became a prodigious favourite both 
with clergy and laity in that region, and they were ready 
to denounce as heretics all who refused to embrace its doc- 
trines. It is refreshing to record some instances where de- 
nunciations were met in a spirit of Christian love. Diony- 


sius, Bishop of Alexandria, visited the discontented district, 
in two hundred fifty-five, called the clergy together, per- 
mitted all laymen to be present, and for three days listened 
to all their objections with patience, and answered them 
with gentleness. He said to them : " On many accounts I 
loved Nepos. On account of his faith, his untiring dili- 
gence, his familiar acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures, 
and the great number of church hymns composed by him, 
which to this day are the delight of many of the brethren. 
And the more do I venerate the man because he has al- 
ready entered into his rest. But dear to me, above all other 
things, is the truth. We must love him and agree with 
him wherever he has expressed truth ; but we ought to ex- 
amine and correct his writings where he seems to be in the 
wrong." The result produced by this course was very dif- 
ferent from the usual experience of councils. The clergy 
thanked him for his paternal instructions, and his principal 
opponent acknowledged himself convinced. But Chiliasm 
long continued to make proselytes in various places. In 
the fourth and fifth centuries, there were so many prophe- 
cies of the near approach of the millennium, and the speedy 
destruction of the world by fire was preached so zealously, 
that many people were terrified into bestowing their whole 
estates upon the church. This happened so often, to the 
detriment of rightful heirs, that the emperors were obliged 
to prohibit it by law. 

It would have been well for the church if more bishops 
had been guided by the moderate spirit which influenced 
Dionysius; for nothing did so much injury to Christianity, 
as the numerous sectarian contests, carried on with a mutual 
disposition to vilify each other's characters, and a willing- 
ness to seize almost any weapon that was likely to demol- 
ish an opponent. The Arians accused Athanasius of mur- 
der, and brought a dead man's hand into court to sustain 
the charge ; but the appearance of the man said to have 
been murdered, and the exhibition of his two hands, threw 
them into confusion. A woman of infamous character was 
emploved to accuse him of licentiousness ; but when the 


case was brought for examination, she pointed out the 
wrong man, and thus betrayed herself. Lucifer of Cagliari 
was a bitter opponent of the Arians ; but having started a 
heresy of his own, lie became equally bitter against the 
church claiming to be orthodox; which he denounced as 
"the brothel-house and synagogue of Antichrist and Sa- 
tan." Is it strange that the Komans and the Jews could 
not easily perceive the divinity of doctrines which bore 
such fruits as these ? 


Constantius pursued a less tolerant course toward the 
old religion, than his father Constantine had done. He 
destroyed many celebrated temples, and plundered others ; 
giving the rich spoils to Christian churches, or to favour- 
ite courtiers. Some of these men, who were suddenly 
made rich by imperial bounty, gave themselves up to 
extravagance and dissipation, and brought upon them- 
selves diseases and disasters, which adherents of the 
old worship were apt to quote as punishment from the 
gods, for the desecration of their temples. On the other 
hand, Christian preachers stimulated the emperor to the 
work of destruction, by reminding him that Jehovah com- 
manded the utter extermination of idolatry, and the death 
of idolaters. But policy restrained him within more pru- 
dent limits. He ordained that certain temples associated 
with popular games and national festivals should be pre- 
served uninjured ; and when he resided in Kome he did 
not venture to take any measures against the old worship 
in that city, which continued to be celebrated with all its 
ancient splendour. 

In the controversy then raging among Christians, he, and 
his brother Constans, who ruled the Western part of the 
empire, took different sides. Constantius was the patron 
of Arians, and Constans was the friend of Athanasius. 
The jealousy between Rome, the old capital of the empirej 


and Constantinople the new capital, was continually on the 
increase, and the different characteristics of the two places 
were perpetually manifested in the opposite sides they took 
in ecclesiastical disputes. Accusations were heaped up 
against the able and influential Athanasius. Councils in 
the West acquitted him ; Councils in the East condemned 
him. Each assumed to be the genuine representatives of 
Christendom, and anathematized the other. Soon there 
was civil war between the imperial brothers; Constans was 
killed, and Constantius reigned supreme. When a Coun- 
cil was called at Milan to investigate charges brought 
against Athanasius, he copied the example of his father, 
and met with the bishops to take part in their discussions. 
But the pampered church had grown strong since the day 
it hailed the presence of Constantine with so much exulta- 
tion. In vain the emperor professed to have had a vision 
from heaven, which commissioned him to restore peace to 
the distracted church. A scheme of doctrine which he 
laid before them, in obedience to that command, was re- 
jected by the Western bishops, as tinged with Arianism. 
They went still further, and maintained that it was wrong 
for a layman to interfere with ecclesiastical concerns. They 
demanded a free Council, in which the emperor should 
not be present, either in person, or by proxy. In fact, 
they declared the church independent of the State, in all 
ecclesiastical matters. They refused to condemn Athana- 
sius, or commune with Arians. Moreover, when Constan- 
tius concealed himself behind a curtain to listen to some of 
their debates, he heard himself denounced as a heretic and 
Anti-Christ. Accustomed to flattery and servility, his 
rage knew no bounds. He proclaimed himself the cham- 
pion of the Arians, who, having their turn in power, were 
not slow to retaliate the wrongs they had suffered under 
proscription. Athanasian bishops were scourged, mutila- 
ted, and tortured in various ways to compel them to con- 
form. Troops of banished prelates were all the time passing 
through the deserts, making the solitude resound with 
hymns expressive of their faith and courage. From those 
Vol. III.— 5* 


deserts came forth writings, denouncing the emperor 
tyrant in civil att'airs, and Anti-Christ in the churches; 
whose object it was to give over to the Devil the world for 
which Christ had suffered and died. There was a stubtx >rn 
resistance to the imperial edicts, which exasperated the 
magistrates, and heated still hotter the furnace of persecu- 
tion. In the midst of this turmoil of the churches, the son 
of Constantine slept with his father, and his cousin Julian 
reigned in his stead. Gregory, the Arian Bishop of Alex- 
andria, delivered a funeral oration, in which he said a choir 
of angels hovered over Mount Taurus and chanted a hymn 
in praise of the departed. 

Julian. — In the will of Constantine the Great, his bro- 
ther was mentioned among the heirs of the empire. He 
and his family were soon after slaughtered, and Constan- 
tius was suspected of having connived at the deed, from 
motives of political jealousy. Two little boys, Gallus and 
Julian, were saved from the massacre, by the timely inter- 
ference of a Christian bishop. Their education was in- 
trusted to Eusebius, Bishop of Nicoinedia, who appointed 
Mardoniu^as their teacher. This man was of high moral 
character, and well versed in all the learning and accom- 
plishments of his time. He inculcated stoical simplicity, 
abstemiousness, modesty, and contempt for frivolous plea- 
sures, while he stimulated intellect, and kindled imagina- 
tion, with the philosophy, poetry, and music of glorious 
old Athens. Julian always held the memory of this 
teacher in affectionate reverence ; and at this early period 
of his life he probably imbibed that passionate predilection 
for Grecian literature and philosophy, which ever after 
characterized him. 

This course of education was pursued for eight or nine 
years. But when Julian was near fifteen years old, a 
change took place, probably from motives of political pre- 
caution ; for Constantius had no children, and a party 
might be formed to raise these young princes to the throne. 
They were accordingly conveyed to a fortress in Asia 


Minor, and placed entirely under the supervision of Chris- 
tian priests, who prescribed implicit obedience, midnight 
watchings, frequent fasts, long prayers, alms to the poor, 
gifts to the clergy, and offerings at the tombs of martyrs. 
It is said they were ordained public readers in the church, 
with a view to prepare them for the priesthood, as the best 
means of diverting their thoughts from the possibility of 
succession to the throne. Gallus was exceedingly obedient 
to the clergy, and received their instructions with unques- 
tioning faith. But Julian, whom nature had endowed with 
restless activity of mind, felt the constraint to which he 
was subjected, and longed for the literary pursuits to which 
he had become so much attached under the tuition of the 
accomplished Mardonius. What were his real views with 
regard to Christianity, at that period, cannot be known. 
If he felt some instinctive aversion to the religion of those 
cousins for whose security his father and relatives had been 
murdered, and himself guarded like a prisoner ; and if the 
generous sympathies of youth were shocked by the fierce 
recriminations and bloody contests of Athanasians and 
Arians, there would certainly be nothing unnatural or sur- 
prising in the fact. There were some indications that such 
was the case. Unlike his brother, he manifested little 
docility in receiving things upon the authority of bishops, 
and sometimes resolutely disputed their doctrines. When 
religious themes were given to them for discussion, Gallus 
defended Christianity, and Julian chose to advocate Gre- 
cian philosophy ; giving as an excuse that he could better 
exercise his ingenuity by arguing on the weaker side. 
Even when the brothers were induced to undertake the 
pious labour of erecting a chapel over the tomb of the mar- 
tyr Mammas, the work went on rapidly under the hands 
of Gallus, but the stones Julian laid were constantly 
overthrown, as if by some invisible agency. Gregory of 
Nazianzen says he had this fact from eye-witnesses ; and 
he seems to regard it as a prophetic miracle. Significant 
of the future it certainly was, since it indicated the state of 
the young workman's mind. 


The empress Eusebia, a kind-hearted, intelligent woman, 
beins^ herself childless, exerted her influence in favour of the 
young princes, who had so long been excluded from the 
society and advantages appropriate to their rank. Gallus 

received the title of Cajsar, and was appointed to com maud 
Borne provinces in the East. Julian, when he was about 
twenty years old, was allowed to reside in Constantinople, 
and afterward in Niconiedia, where he encountered many 
poets and philosophers attached to the old order of things. 
They were at that time a depressed minority, banished 
from their temples, and retired from their schools. Julian 
was attracted toward them b} 7 the associations of his early 
education, and by the natural sympathy of youth with a 
class of men proscribed by the majority, and secretly per- 
forming those religious rites which their forefathers had 
celebrated with such solemn and stately pageantry. Liba- 
nius the orator, an eloquent advocate of the old religion, 
was at that time attracting much attention by his lectures. 
Julian was forbidden to hear him, and of course availed 
himself, with redoubled eagerness, of every stolen chance 
to read his writings. The philosophers with whom he 
formed acquaintance are accused of managing very artfully 
to obtain influence over his eager mind and impressible 
imagination. They told of the magical skill acquired by 
Maximus, one of the last of the New Platonists. They 
related how he had led them into a temple of Hecate, and 
when he had burned incense and repeated a hymn, the 
statue of the goddess smiled. Seeing them astonished by 
this phenomenon, Maximus told them they should see 
greater wonders. He uttered some words, and instantly all 
the lamps lighted up, as if by invisible agency. The philos- 
ophers, who described the scene, spoke lightly of magical 
skill, in comparison with the inward purification of the 
soul. But the ardent imagination of Julian was kindled, 
and he started off to Ephesus, to obtain an interview with 
Maximus, whose venerable appearance, persuasive tones, 
and fluent conversation, gained his heart at once. With 
him he drank copious draughts of Platonism, and studied 


into the allegorical meaning of what poets had said con- 
cerning the gods. He also became versed in astrology, 
and confirmed his faith in the power of the stars. He 
learned to consult auguries, to evoke Spirits, and to distin- 
guish the signs of their presence. Some of the Christian 
Fathers relate that Maximus took him into a deep cavern 
at midnight, where he heard awful sounds, and saw lurid 
spectres; that Julian, in his terror, involuntarily crossed 
himself; whereupon the sounds instantly ceased and the 
Spirits vanished. They add that Maximus adroitly turned 
aside the effect of the miracle, by saying the gods disliked 
the presence of such a profane worshipper. 

Gallus, having heard something of his brother's pursuits, 
sent an Arian bishop to counteract the influence of philos- 
ophers and magicians. Julian, conscious of being closely 
watched, dissembled to such a degree, that his enemies ac- 
cuse him of having been far more zealous in outward con- 
formity to Christianity, than he had ever been. His aver- 
sion to the religion professed by his imperial cousin was 
doubtless increased by a misfortune which befel him at this 
period. His brother Gallus was accused of treasonable 
designs, and thrown into prison, where he was soon after 
beheaded. It is said the young man had governed in a 
haughty and cruel manner ; but whether he deserved his 
fate or not, Julian was fondly attached to him, and seeing 
him cut off thus suddenly, without public examination into 
his conduct, he felt that Constantius was the murderer of 
his brother, as he had always believed him to be of his 
father. He himself also was continually harassed by the 
consciousness of being watched. The popularity he gained 
by his quick talent, his varied information, his fluent utter- 
ance, and courteous deportment, was displeasing to the 
emperor. He caused him to be arrested, and for seven 
months he remained in prison, daily expecting to meet his 
brother's fate. But the kindly counsels of the empress 
saved his life. He was allowed to retire to Athens, where 
his wounded spirit again found solace in companionship 
with scholars, and the calm pursuits of literature and phi- 



losophy. The High Priest became his intimate friend, and 
he was initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries, which had 
such a powerful effect on his mind, that he became a con- 
firmed and enthusiastic votary of the old worship. 

Surrounded by influences so congenial, it was with un- 
feigned regret he found himself compelled to change his 
sphere of action. But Constantius, influenced by the em- 
press, conferred on him the title of Cassar, summoned him 
to command the army in Gaul, and gave him bis sister in 
marriage. A young man who had lived so much apart 
from courts and camps, and devoted himself to philosophy, 
seemed likely to gain but few laurels as a warrior. But 
it was Julian's nature to enter with all his soul into what- 
soever he undertook ; and the emperor's jealousy was soon 
alarmed by the fame of his military exploits. The ardent 
attachment of the army placed him in a dangerous position, 
from which he could neither advance or retreat with safety. 
Constantius marched to attack him, but died on the way, 
and named him his successor. 

While Julian commanded the army, fear of his imperial 
cousin induced him to attend the Christian festivals, while 
he secretly performed the old rites with a few of his attend- 
ants. But when he became emperor, his first act was to 
proclaim himself a worshipper of the gods, and his first 
employment of the treasury was to rebuild and embellish 
the temples. Enormous sums were expended to purchase 
hecatombs of cattle, and to import rare birds, to be offered 
in sacrifice. He was zealous in his attendance on the nu- 
merous religious ceremonies, and often performed in person 
the most menial offices of the temples ; blowing the fire, 
bringing the wood, and examining the entrails of victims 
with his own imperial hands. The oracles were again con- 
sulted with solemn ceremonies. The old festivals were 
restored with great magnificence ; and being vain of his 
eloquence, he delighted in making florid orations to the 
people on such occasions. Prayers were offered in the 
temples three times a day, and bands of choristers trained 
to chant hymns to the gods. He ordered that reverential 


silence should be observed in all places of worship. The 
people were forbidden to receive him with acclamations 
when he entered a temple, and all persons in authority 
were required to leave their guards at the door. He re- 
ceived a baptism of blood, called the Taurobolia, the ob- 
servance of which was supposed to be conducive to the 
welfare of the state. On this occasion, an ox was sacrificed 
to the gods, and the sacred blood, passing through a per- 
forated floor, flowed copiously over the person standing 
beneath to receive it. 

The Sun was his tutelary deity, and he believed there 
was some mysterious affinity between his own soul and the 
Spirit of that luminary. When a boy he was always sin- 
gularly attracted by the sunlight, and he regarded it as an 
unconscious longing after the God to whom he was related. 
The private chapel in his palace was consecrated to the 
Sun ; but his gardens were filled with altars and statues of 
all the gods. Many times in the day he might be seen 
there, employed in acts of worship. Morning and evening, 
he offered sacrifices and prayers to the Sun, and he rose in the 
night to worship the Spirits presiding over moon and stars. 

There is every indication that these things were done 
from a sincere conviction of their importance. He always 
resented any irreverence towards the gods far more than 
disrespect toward himself. He was accustomed to say " that 
if he could make every individual richer than Midas, and 
every city greater than Babylon, he should not consider 
himself a benefactor to mankind, unless he could reclaim 
his subjects from their impious revolt against the gods." 

His doctrines were the same as those taught by the New 
Platonists. The poetic stories concerning the gods he re- 
garded as fables, but he supposed they contained a spiritual 
treasury, which philosophers could unlock by the key of 
allegorical interpretation. He believed that Spirits of the 
Stars, and others, employed as messengers between God 
and man, sometimes inhabited temples on this earth, and 
even animated their statues, when invoked with suitable 
prayers and ceremonies. He affirmed that he lived in con- 


slant companionship with those Spirits. He said they often 
waked him by their touch, and he could easily distinguish 
them by their voices, as well as by their forms. He spoke 
reverently of the immortality of the soul, concerning which 
he adopted the Platonic theory ; but he alluded to it with 
timidity, very unlike the triumphant certainty of Christian 
martyrs. He says : "I am not one of those who disbelieve 
the immortality of the soul ; but that is a secret, which man 
can only conjecture ; the gods alone can know." 

He attributed the rapid spread of Christianity to the 
charity toward the poor, manifested by its adherents ; to 
their burial of the dead ; their kindness to strangers ; and 
the general sobriety of their clergy. He strongly urged 
this example upon the priests of his own religion. He 
took unwearied pains to seek out men eminent for virtue 
to fill the office of High Priest, and superintend the infe- 
rior priesthood. He gave them orders that in all the towns 
men most conspicuous for reverence toward the gods, and 
justice toward their fellow beings, should be selected for 
priests, without any reference to rank or fortune. They 
were enjoined not to frequent theatres or taverns ; not to 
appear at public festivals, where women were mixed with 
the crowd; to associate only with those of virtuous and 
discreet behaviour ; to avoid all reading calculated to in- 
flame the passions; and to abjure the writings of Epicu- 
reans, Pyrrhonists, and all other schools of philosophy 
calculated to produce scepticism on religious subjects. 
Priests who were guilty of any unworthy conduct, or who 
" allowed their wives, sons, or servants, to unite with the 
Galileans" were to be immediately deposed. 

He levied a tax in every province for the maintenance 
of the poor. He distributed large supplies of grain among 
the priests, and what was left from their own support was 
to be devoted to charitable purposes. He ordered hospitals 
to be erected for the sick, and asylums for strangers of all 
religions, where whosoever needed might find relief; and 
he so far profited by the ideas he had derived from Chris- 
tian teachers, that he formed a plan for the general instruc- 


tion of the people, by means of preachers and schools. In 
a letter to the High Priest of Galatia, he writes : " That 
which hinders our Grecian worship from making as much 
progress as we could wish is the manners of those who 
profess it. The success so far certainly surpasses our hopes ; 
but we must not stop on our good way. How has this 
new atheism established itself? It has been by hospitality ; 
by care of the sepulchres, and by all the appearances of an 
honest and pious life. Order thy priests to keep away from 
shows, not to get intoxicated in the public places, and to 
abstain from all infamous trades and professions. Build 
hospitals. Is it not disgraceful to us to leave our poor 
without resources, while we cannot see a single mendicant 
Jew, and while the Galileans collect our poor with their 

Julian's aversion to Christianity was manifested in all 
manner of ways. Though aiming to establish a character 
for philosophic candour, he could not refrain from an un- 
seemly tone of biting irony, whenever he alluded to them. 
He excluded Christians from all high offices of the state or 
army, saying their religion forbade them to bear the sword, 
either for justice or war. He passed an edict that they 
should be always called Galileans ; and described them as 
a set of fanatics contemptible to gods and men, by whose 
obstinate impiety the empire had been well nigh reduced 
to the brink of destruction. He wrote a book against 
Christianity, in which he ridicules the Festivals of Martyrs 
and the reverence for their relics, as " the worship of dead 
men's bones." He considered the Sun as the glorious 
representative of the Platonic Logos, and he expressed 
surprise that Christians should " prefer a visible to an in- 
visible Logos." He continually reproached them for 
"making a dead man of Palestine their God." He says: 
" None of the Apostles call Christ God ; and he himself 
does not say it plainly." He ridicules the great efficacy 
which Christians ascribed to baptism. He says : " It can- 
not remove leprosy, gout, warts, or any other greater or 
lesser bodily defects ; but lo ! it is able to wash away all 
Vol. III.— 6 


the sins of the soul !" He dwelt with Bringing sarcasm on 
the bitter animosity which different sects manifested toward 
each other, and the relentless persecution thej practi 

For some centuries, there had been gradually increasing 
attention to education in the Roman Empire. In all the 
principal towns, professors were appointed to teach gram- 
mar, rhetoric, and philosophy. In many places, learned 
Christians rilled these offices ; but Julian forbade them to 
teach Greek literature without express sanction from the 
magistrates. He assigned as a reason, that Hesiod, Homer, 
and all the old historians and orators, had dedicated them- 
selves to the worship of the gods; and that it must be 
either shameful hypocrisy, or unprincipled avarice, which 
induced Christians to teach what they did not believe, 
merely for the sake of making money. lie taunted them 
with the contempt they were so fond of expressing for 
human learning, and added, in his usual tone of irony : 
" Let them be content with explaining Matthew and Luke 
in the Galilean churches." Some of the Christians, being 
thus excluded from the prevailing literature, composed 
poems in imitation of Homer and Pindar, in which they 
commemorated the deeds of patriarchs and apostles ; and 
these they taught in their schools. 

The monogram of Christ was removed from the Labarum, 
and representations of the gods were again placed on the 
military standards. A splendid temple was built for the 
statue of the Goddess of Fortune, and the Cross, which 
Constantine had placed in her hand, was taken away. His 
law exempting the Christian clergy from taxation and other 
civil burdens, was annulled. The ample revenues, which 
he had granted from the imperial treasury, for their sup- 
port, and for ecclesiastical charity, were transferred to the 
old order of priests. Bishops were peculiarly objects of 
dislike and jealousy ; their influence over the people being 
a formidable obstruction in the way of restoring the old 

But with all these symptoms of animosity, Julian pre- 
scribed to himself a system of toleration, and made an effort 


to practise it. He ordered the governors of provinces to 
prefer pious men of the old religion, in the distribution of 
honours, emoluments, or privileges; but never to put 
Christians to death on account of religion, or allow any 
injury to be done to them. On one of these occasions, he 
writes thus: "I hear they do not coerce them. They 
might be treated like children, who are forced to do their 
duty ; but it shall not be thus. They shall be permitted 
to infect themselves with this leprosy. A forced worship 
does not satisfy our gods. They wish to be adored with 
the heart." Again he writes: "Leave them to punish 
themselves ; poor, blind, and misguided beings, who aban- 
don the most glorious privilege of mankind, the adoration 
of the immortal gods, to worship mouldering remains, and 
bones of the dead." 

As Constantine had spared neither money nor influence, 
to induce people to be baptized, so Julian spared neither 
expense nor favours to tempt them to sacrifice to the gods ; 
both of them inquired no further, if they could but obtain 
the outward act. Sometimes he paid his soldiers for sacri- 
ficing; sometimes he resorted to artifice. When troops 
passed in review before him, he caused standards, bearing 
images of the gods, to be placed so near his own person, 
that they could not pay the customary homage to the em- 
peror, without bowing before the images. Some were 
caught by this stratagem ; others, who were determined to 
avoid even the appearance of worshipping the gods, passed 
without making the usual salute ; and so were imprisoned 
and put to death for disrespect toward their prince. Upon 
one occasion, when he was to distribute donations to the 
army, he surrounded his throne with statues and con- 
secrated emblems, and ordered a pile of gold coins to be 
placed on one side, and a heap of frankincense on the 
other. Whoever passed to receive the money was re- 
quired to place a portion of the incense in a fire burning on 
the altar. Many Christian soldiers did this ; some of them 
thoughtlessly, supposing they had merely paid the pre- 
scribed homage to the emperor. Afterward, when some 


of them were at dinner, and made the customary sign of 
the cross over their cups, before they drank, they were 
asked how they could do that, when they had publicly ab- 
jured Christ. When this was explained to them, they 
rushed into the market-place, proclaiming : u We are Chris- 
tians ! We are Christians ! If our hands are guilty, our 
hearts are innocent." They surrounded the palace, threw 
down the coins, and cried out : " The emperor has deceived 
us. Give the gold to others, who will have no cause to 
repent of it. As for us, we value Christ above all things." 
For this breach of discipline, they were led to execution, 
and manifested the utmost eagerness for martyrdom. But 
a messenger from the emperor put a stop to the bloody 
scene, and they were merely punished with banishment. 

When Julian commanded the reconstruction of demol- 
ished temples, he did not pay for it from the imperial 
treasury, or indemnify those who had legally come into 
possession of the land, or buildings erected thereon, as 
Constantine had done with regard to the churches. He 
gave orders that Christians accused of pillaging the tem- 
ples, or of assisting to destroy them, should be compelled 
to pay for rebuilding them. Nearly all the work of de- 
struction and plunder had been done by permission of his 
cousin Constantius, whom he seems to have regarded with 
so much aversion ; and perhaps that circumstance blinded 
his usual clear sight of justice. The oppressive edict fell 
very heavily on the Christians, and many innocent people 
were the victims of false accusations. It required immense 
sums to make the required restitution in all parts of the 
empire; for during the forty years that Christianity had 
basked in the sunshine of imperial favour, the old religion 
had suffered much at their hands. Zealots had urged upon 
the sons of Constantine the great merit of imitating God's 
chosen people the Israelites, in their zeal to exterminate 
idolatry. They said: "O ye most religious emperors, de- 
stroy without fear the ornaments of the temples. Coin the 
idols into money, or melt them into useful metal. Confis- 
cate all their endowments for the advantage of the govern- 


merit. By your recent victories God signifies his sanction 
to your hostility against the temples." AVhere such a spirit 
existed, fanaticism would of course make wild work in 
some places, without waiting for legal authority. Indigna- 
tion had lain smouldering in the hearts of the old wor- 
shippers, and now that they had a return of power, they 
were generally disposed to force restitutio^ without much 
consideration whether the penalty fell on the guilty or the 
innocent. Disputes everywhere arose concerning the exe- 
cution of the edict. The passions of men were excited to 
a terrible degree; and in some places, the most horrible 
atrocities were committed against the Christians. The 
Fathers tell of murdered bodies dragged through the 
streets, pierced by the spits of cooks, and the distaffs of 
enraged women, and at last thrown to the dogs. Marcus, 
Bishop of Arethusa, was accused of having aided in the 
destruction of a temple, and required to make compensa- 
tion. He was poor, and could not have done it, if he 
would. But in order to compel him to raise the money, 
they scourged the aged prelate, tore his beard, anointed his 
body with honey, and hung it up in the sunshine, a prey 
to tormenting insects. Even in that situation, he gloried 
in the destruction of idols, and insulted his persecutors. 
He was rescued from their hands, and was afterward almost 
worshipped as one of the holy Confessors. The emperor 
was reminded by his friends that the multiplication of such 
examples of constancy would be very bad policy. It is 
true, he did not order such barbarities, nor did he ever give 
them his sanction ; but he did not show his characteristic 
energy in preventing, or punishing them. His subjects 
presumed on his well-known antipathy to "the Galileans;" 
and they did it with impunity. 

Christians, on their part, had been too long accustomed 
to power, to bear their reverses with the patience and 
humility worthy of the religion they professed. Mobs 
overthrew the altar of Cybele at Pessinus, and at Caesarea 
they destroyed a Temple of Fortune ; the only one left to 
the polytheistic worshippers in that place. Magistrates 
Vol. HI.— 6* 


punished the leaders, but those who suffered were almost 
adored as martyrs. The Governor of Phrygia, having 
opened temples for the observance of the old worship, a 
mob of Christians went in the night and shuttered the 
statues to fragments. Fruitless search was made for the 
offenders, and there was such an angry state of feeling, that 
a general and bloody persecution seemed inevitable. In 
view of this, the authors of the mischief came forward and 
acknowledged what they had done. The judge offered to 
pardon them if they would sacrifice to the gods ; but they 
replied they would rather endure anything he could inflict, 
than pollute themselves by such a deed. After being tor- 
tured in various ways, they were burned to death on grid- 
irons, defying their tormentors to the last. The emperor 
himself did not escape annoyances from Christian zeal. 
One day, when he was offering sacrifice in the temple, the 
Arian Bishop of Chalcedon, who was old and blind, re- 
monstrated with him for his wickedness. " Peace, blind 
old man!" replied Julian. "Thy Galilean God will not 
restore thy eyesight." "I thank God for my blindness," 
rejoined the bishop; "since it spares me the pain of be- 
holding an apostate like thee." The emperor proceeded to 
sacrifice, without making any reply. 

As if disposed in all things to dislike whatever Constan- 
tius had favoured, Julian recalled all those who had been 
exiled for heretical opinions, and humbled the Arians, 
whose intolerant use of power he had witnessed during the 
years that he conformed to Christianity. Receiving com- 
plaints from Edessa, that some disorders had arisen in con- 
sequence of insults and oppressions exercised by the Arians 
toward their theological opponents, without waiting to in- 
vestigate the truth of the charge, he gave immediate orders 
to confiscate all the church property of the Arians. The 
lands were added to the imperial domain, and their money 
distributed among the soldiers. The edict was accompanied 
with threats of fire and sword, if the disorders continued. 
In his usual mocking tone, he wrote : " Such has been my 
clemency toward the Galileans, that I have left them at 


liberty to renounce the gods, and to live in impiety. But 
those whom they call Arians, being carried into culpable 
excesses, I resolved to assist them in accomplishing an ad- 
mirable precept of their law. I have confiscated the riches 
with which they gorged themselves during the preceding 
reign, and have rendered them poor, and thus worthy to 
enter that kingdom of heaven which they expect" 

Alexandria, always full of commotions, became a scene 
of tumult during the reign of Julian. A man named 
George, originally a contractor of bacon for the army, mo- 
nopolized trade in all profitable articles, and became very 
wealthy. He was endowed by nature with considerable 
ability, but rendered himself odious with all classes of citi- 
zens by his extortionate and tyrannical proceedings. This 
man was professedly a Christian ; probably belonging to 
that numerous class who are always ready to adopt any 
creed that is patronized by government. In the reign of 
Constantius, he was Arian Bishop of Alexandria, and 
caused the whole people to groan under his heavy taxation. 
Adherents of the old worship had been flattered with 
promises of toleration ; but as soon as he was in power, he 
interdicted their festivals, pillaged the rich ornaments of 
their temples, and invented various pretexts for levying 
fines, and confiscating their property. They were com- 
pelled to submit to these aggressions during the reign of 
Constantius, but when Julian came to the throne the long 
suppressed rage burst forth. A furious mob surrounded 
the episcopal palace, murdered the bishop and two of his 
officers, dragged their bodies through the streets, tore them 
in pieces, and threw them into the sea, to prevent their 
bones from being honoured as the relics of martyrs. The 
emperor addressed a letter to the people, admitting that 
their indignation was just, but rebuking them severely for 
taking the law into their own violent hands, and for tear- 
ing men to pieces, like dogs, and then daring to lift their 
blood-stained hands to the gods. 

In consequence of Julian's edict recalling heretics ban- 
ished in the preceding reign, Athanasius had returned to 


Alexandria. A majority of the numerous Christians in 
that city were devotedly attached to him ; and in the midst 
of these tumults his strong character took the ascendancy 
which belonged to it by nature. The emperor was indig- 
nant to hoar that he had presumed so far as to resume his 
episcopal dignity, and that he had converted some ladies 
of high rank. He wrote to the governor to banish forth- 
with that "most wicked Athanasius, by whose influence 
the gods are brought into contempt." lie says : " Nothing 
will give me greater joy than to hear the godless wretch is 
banished from every district of Eg}^pt, who, during my 
reign, has dared to baptize noble Grecian women." The 
people petitioned in great numbers, but in vain ; and Atha- 
nasius again went into exile. In his letters to the governor, 
Julian assigned political motives, saying : " It is a danger- 
ous thing for so cunning and restless a man to be at the 
head of the people." He reproached the Alexandrians for 
" neglecting to worship the God of the Sun, whose benign 
influence they all experienced, and devoting themselves to 
Jesus, the God-Logos, whom neither they nor their fathers 
had seen." He says : " The prelate of the Galileans ought 
to love me. I have treated them better than my prede- 
cessor. Under his reign, those whom they called heretics 
were hunted and massacred. Whole villages were sacked 
and destroyed. I have recalled them, and restored their 
property. But I put limits to their ambition ; that is my 

He summoned a meeting of various Christian sects, and 
attempted to preside over their discussions. Whether he 
did this in a spirit of mockery, or with a proud philosophic 
certainty of vanquishing them by his arguments, it is not 
easy to decide. Whatever his motives might have been, 
the disputes between Athanasians, Arians, Apollinarians, 
Anomaeans, and of Donatists with -them all, became so 
clamorous, that he could not make himself heard ; and he 
dismissed them with the remark : " No wild beasts are so 
savage and intractable as Christian sectaries." 

The magnificent and richly endowed Temple of Apollo, 


in the Groves of Daphne, near Antioch, has been described 
in the chapter on Greece. The worship at this temple, 
once so exceedingly popular, gradually declined. Babylas, 
Bishop of Antioch, had died in prison, during the Decian 
persecution. Gallus, the brother of Julian, who ruled the 
Eastern provinces about a hundred years after, found a 
portion of the Groves of Daphne converted into a Christian 
burial-place. He caused the bones of the martyred bishop 
to be removed thither, and a superb church was erected 
over his tomb. The ancient nations universally considered 
the presence of a dead body pollution to any consecrated 
place. The priests of Apollo quitted the precincts in dis- 
may; and the old worshippers feared to enter there, to 
consult the far-famed oracle. The Christian Fathers said 
Apollo was abashed by the presence of a holy martyr; 
that he felt himself vanquished, and his oracle dared not 
break silence. The temple, thus deserted, fell into decay. 
Julian had the same predilection for Apollo that had been 
manifested by his uncle Constantine. In the general re- 
storation of temples, this far-famed edifice received early 
attention. Julian resolved to visit it in person, on the oc- 
casion of the ancient Festival of Apollo. On the road, he 
offered prayers and sacrifices at every temple and altar ; 
often ascending steep and rugged mountains, in the midst 
of drenching rain, if there was a temple at the top. As he 
approached Antioch, his imagination was full of long pro- 
cessions of priests, pouring libations from golden goblets, 
boys in white robes waving incense, bullocks crowned with 
garlands, and graceful dancers moving to music's most har- 
monious measures. Great was his disappointment to find 
the beautiful Groves of Daphne full of tombs, the temple 
silent, and only one pale, sad old priest, who had but a sin- 
gle swan to sacrifice to Apollo. Upon inquiry, he found 
that only a few of the old people in Antioch remembered 
the ancient ceremonies. Julian says: " Not one brought 
oil for the lamp ; not one brought incense, libation, or sa- 
crifice." He severely rebuked those who held large estates 
attached to the temple, yet neglected its service, while they 


allowed their wives to lavish money on the "Galilean* 
bishops. lie ordered the Christian church to be demol- 
ished, and the temple restored to its former splendour. As 
a necessary preliminary, all the dead bodies were removed 
to Antioch, five miles distant, and the consecrated grounds 
were purified according to the ancient Grecian rites. The 
Christians sent a chariot to receive the remains of Babylas ;. 
and an immense procession came out from the city to escort 
it to the burial-place. They met it with thundering accla- 
mations, and followed it chanting alternate strains, in which 
they continually repeated : " Confounded he all they that 
worship graven images, and delight in vain idols." Julian, 
exasperated by this intentional insult, ordered punishment 
to be inflicted on some of the leaders. Sallust, the Praeto- 
rian Prefect, being characterized by moderation, subjected 
only one young man to torture. But he so exulted in his 
sufferings, and continued to shout so obstinately, "Con- 
founded be all they who delight in vain idols," that Sallust 
reminded the emperor how much the Christian cause gained 
by such examples of constancy, and how much their own 
would lose by cruelty. His caution was accepted, and no- 
further notice taken of the offence. 

The restoration of the temple proceeded rapidly ; and a 
beautiful new peristyle already surrounded it, when, at 
midnight, Julian received tidings that the building was on 
fire. The roof, the costly ornaments of the interior, and 
the colossal statue of Apollo, were all consumed. Chris- 
tians said God had struck the impious place with light- 
ning, at the intercession of the martyred Babylas ; but the 
emperor and his friends believed it to be the work of incen- 
diaries. Many supposed the fire had taken accidentally, 
from torches placed within the temple by a zealous wor- 
shipper in Julian's train. He was so strongly persuaded 
to the contrary, that he ordered the cathedral at Antioch 
to be closed, and its wealth confiscated. 

After Julian left Antioch, the magistrate who was in- 
trusted with the examination of the affair, adopted modes 
of persecution unsanctioned by the emperor. Several of 


the Christian clergy were tortured, and one beheaded. 
Many acts of injustice were done; and in some cases the 
oppression fell on individuals who had been distinguished 
for moderation and gentleness when they had the power 
in their own hands. Libanius, the orator, a zealous advo- 
cate of the old worship, had written to the magistrate, to 
"make those weep who had long made merry with the 
better cause." But he protested strongly against the in- 
justice he witnessed, and boldly shielded its victims. A 
poor and truly religious man, named Orion, was called upon 
to pay large sums of money, or submit to torture. Libanius 
sheltered him in his own house, and persisted in refusing 
to give him up. He wrote to the magistrate : " This man 
is not one of those who can easily change with the times. 
But when he was in authority, during the preceding reign, 
he oppressed no one, and was never arrogant. He did not 
imitate those who made a bad use of their power ; on the 
contrary, he always blamed them. He never made war 
against our worship, or persecuted our priests; and he 
saved many from misery by the mild administration of his 
office. This made the man dear to me; for while he 
reverenced his own religion, he never annoyed those who 
swore by the name of Jupiter. I now see this man full of 
distress, his family broken up, and his furniture plundered. 
I know all this is not according to the will of the emperor. 
He has said : ' If any man has property belonging to the 
temples, require him to give it up ; but if he has not, do 
not allow him to be either abused or insulted.' It is mani- 
fest these men are coveting the goods of others, while they 
pretend to be desirous of serving the gods." As soon as 
the emperor received information of the injustice practised, 
he expressed strong disapprobation, and forbade its con- 
tinuance. For another Christian, Libanius intreated that 
his elegant house might be spared, because it made the city 
beautiful, and because "he did not, with arrogance and 
impiety, plunder the temple," on whose site it was erected; 
but paid for it, according to the law then established. For 
another, who was called upon to rebuild a demolished tern- 


pie, he petitioned that he might be permitted to pay half 
the sum at once, and raise the remainder at some future 

Eomans generally regarded Jews as less impious than 
Christians, because they had an ancient and established 
religion, from which they had never seceded. In addition 
to this universal feeling, Julian had various inducements 
to favour them. Being on the eve of an expensive war, 
it was policy to secure the good will of a numerous and 
wealthy class of citizens * and even without this motive, he 
would have been attracted toward them by the fact that 
Christians disliked them, and that his cousin Constantius 
had oppressed and plundered them, under various pre- 
tences. " The Jews differ from us only in the exclusive 
worship of one God," said he, " Everything else they have 
in common with us ; temples, sacred groves, altars, lustra- 
tions, and a variety of other observances, wherein we differ 
but little, or not at all." Soon after his accession, he ad- 
dressed a friendly epistle to the Jews scattered throughout 
his empire. He admitted that Jehovah was a true God, 
though not the only one; pitied their misfortunes, con- 
demned those who had oppressed them, and styled himself 
their protector. Concerning the difference of religious be- 
lief between them, he argued thus: "If the God proclaimed 
by Moses is the universal framer of the universe, presiding 
immediately over the world, then ice have the more correct 
idea of Him, who regard him as Lord of the whole universe, 
and the inferior gods as presiding over individual nations ; 
standing in relation to Him, as governors of provinces un- 
der a king ; nor do we represent Him as a rival of the gods, 
who are under Him. But if Moses worshipped one of the 
subordinate deities, and ascribed to him the creation and 
government of all things, then it is better to follow us, and 
to acknowledge the Universal God, who is indeed IiQr4 
over all, without failing to recognize that other Being also, 
who should be worshipped as the governor of a province, 
not as the Creator of all." He proposed to rebuild their 
temple on Mount Moriah, more magnificently than Con; 


stantine had built the Christian church on Calvary. He 
asked them to pray to their Grod for him ; and added: "I 
will pray with you in the temple we are going to recon- 
struct." The Jews, accustomed to pillage and persecution 
under the preceding emperors, received this unexpected 
proposal with triumphant joy. They flocked from all quar- 
ters to their Holy Mountain, where the voice of Psalm and 
Hallelujah had been hushed for so many centuries. Wo- 
men poured their jewels into the treasury, misers unlocked 
their hoards, and every little child was eager to contribute 
his mite toward rebuilding that temple whose recounted 
glories had so dazzled his infant imagination. Men and 
women of the highest rank laboured at removing the ruins 
with their own hands. Stones were dug out with pickaxes 
and shovels of solid silver, and women removed rubbish in 
silver baskets, or mantles of the richest silk. The aged, 
the lame, and the blind, competed with the strong for some 
share in the sacred work. All the implements employed 
were to be kept ever after as consecrated memorials, and 
transmitted to posterity. A large quantity of materials was 
collected, and the excavation had already proceeded to a 
considerable depth, when the workmen were suddenly 
interrupted by volumes of flame bursting from the centre 
of the hill, accompanied by tremendous explosions. The 
scorched and blasted labourers fled in terror. The Jews 
were discomfited and alarmed by such ao evil omen ; but 
it is likely that the undertaking would have been resumed, 
had not Julian gone to the war in Persia, from which he 
never returned. The account is given by the Pagan his- 
torian, Ammianus. It was much amplified by subsequent 
writers. They said a violent earthquake shook the moun- 
tain ; that a horse and his rider were seen enveloped in the 
flames ; that the fire was so fierce, it consumed even the 
iron tools ; that blazing crosses settled on the garments of 
the workmen ; and when they sought shelter in a neigh- 
bouring church, the doors were fast closed against them, by 
supernatural force. 

The prophecy that the temple would never be restored, 
Vol. III.— 7 d 


and that another would descend from heaven with the New 
Jerusalem, when Christ came to establish his kingdom on 
earth, had been perpetually reiterated by Christians. Con- 
sequently, they exulted over the frustrated attempt to 
disprove this prediction, and saw in it the miraculous 
intervention of offended Deity. In fact, it has been gene- 
rally so regarded unto the present time. But M. Guizot 
and Dr. Milman, suggest that these explosions may be ac- 
counted for, "on the principle of lire-damps in mines." 
They state that there were vast excavations under Jerusa- 
lem, which could be entered from the temple. They are 
supposed to have been made in the time of Solomon, for 
the purpose of concealing treasures and provisions, in time 
of siege; and also as a means of escape, in case of extreme 
emergencies. During three centuries of desolation, the 
outlet had probably become choked up, and the cavern 
filled with inflammable gas, which exploded with a great 
noise, when workmen approached the aperture with torches. 
Josephus relates a similar incident, as having occurred 
when Herod sent men to explore the sepulchre of David, 
in hopes of finding hidden treasures. In Julian's time, all 
classes of men were prone to assign supernatural, rather 
than scientific causes for all phenomena; and doubtless 
this tendency of mind discouraged the Jews, while it ani- 
mated the Christians. 

While Julian was so diligent in restoring religious cere- 
monials, he had by no means forgotten his friends the 
philosophers. As soon as he assumed the imperial purple, 
he wrote to Maximus, urging his immediate attendance at 
court. This was followed by invitations to others, whom 
he considered eminent for wisdom or virtue. The roads to 
the capital were now thronged with philosophers, travelling 
at the public expense, as bishops had done in the days of 
Constantine. Julian spared no pains to do them honour, 
and they are most lavishly eulogized in his writings. 
Maximus, whose magical skill had so much astonished his 
youth, was his chosen friend and counsellor. Imperial 
favour had the same effect on him that it had on some 


bishops, in the days of Constantine and Constantius. He 
became luxurious, ambitious, and arrogant. The same 
was true of many of the philosophers, on whom he lavished 
wealth and honours. The belief in magic was universal. 
The most enlightened Christians of that time believed in it 
as firmly as others ; only they imputed its marvels to agency 
of the Devil. Most of the philosophers at that period 
sought to gain power over the credulous by arts deemed 
magical ; but some of them disapproved of it. Eusebius, 
an able and eloquent man, a fervent admirer of Plotinus, 
was among the intimate friends of Julian. He believed in 
the wonders performed by Maximus, but discountenanced 
the pursuit of such knowledge ; saying he deemed it far 
wiser to seek after the true essence of things, the ideas per- 
ceptible to enlightened reason, than to practise illusions on 
the senses by means of magic. Priscus, another philosophie 
friend and adviser of the emperor, bore prosperity with 
great moderation. Serious in character, and austere in 
morals, he despised those who embraced philosophy be- 
cause it was the fashion. He continued to live very simply, 
and would never consent to become a courtier. Chrysan- 
thus was another of the New Platonists distinguished for 
uprightness, purity, moderation, and dignity of manner. 
The emperor sent repeated invitations, and even wrote with 
his own hand, urging him and his wife Melita to come 
to court; but they constantly refused. Finding it use- 
less, he appointed him High Priest of Lydia, conjointly 
with his wife, and invested them with full authority to 
erect temples, restore ancient ceremonials, and nominate 
priests. They performed the duties of their station with 
so much justice, kindness, and discretion, that the greatest 
enemies of their religion were constrained to respect their 

Julian himself did not agree with those of his philoso- 
phers who discountenanced magic. He was a great believer 
in prophecies, divination, and miracles by aid of theurgy. 
Soothsayers and magicians flocked to him from all quarters. 
Many of them had been imprisoned during preceding reigns, 


for impositions on the people, meddling with political affairs, 
and connecting cruel practices with their midnight incanta- 
tions. But Julian was prone to regard tli«-m with a degree 
of favour, which the wisest of his friends and subjects ob- 
served with regret. Chrysostom, who could not be ex- 
pected to judge very impartially of Julian and his friends, 
and who probably classed all the philosophers with magi- 
cians, says : " Men who had grown old in prison, and in 
the mines, and who maintained their wretched existence by 
the most disgraceful trades, were suddenly advanced to 
places of dignity, and invested with the priesthood, and 
sacrificial functions." 

Many were, of course, gained over by the same selfish 
motives which induced multitudes to be baptized in the 
time of Constantine and Constantius. The Fathers speak 
with indignation of such men, " who changed their religion 
as easily as their garments ; who abandoned the churches, 
and ran to the altars ; enticed to apostacy by the bait of 
honourable offices ; pointed at by the finger of scorn, as 
those who had betrayed Christ for a few pieces of silver.'* 
It was, in fact, a period when men could easily lose their 
way, between the two extremes of scepticism and fanaticism, 
which always mark the dissolution of old forms. Scepticism 
had for a long time been at work diminishing the authority 
of the ancient religion. The increasing manifestation of it 
produced an extreme reaction of fanaticism in some, who, 
with terrified desperation, and redoubled zeal, sought to 
sustain the faith of their fathers ; while those whose acti- 
vity of intellect was chastened by reverence, resorted to 
allegorical interpretation as the only method of conciliation 
between the atheism and the superstition of their time. 
Julian undertook a hopeless task in attempting to restore 
the old worship. Such life as was in it in the olden time 
had departed ; and it is always a vain effort to build tem- 
ples with ashes. Himself, and others who were sincere in 
their reverence for it, merely wished to preserve it as a 
time-honoured respectability. Notwithstanding the mag- 
nificence of his temples, and the splendour of his festivals, 


he could not excite the people to much zeal in sacrificing ; 
while those whom he paid for honouring the gods, often 
ate and drank at the banquets in a manner so excessive as 
to disgrace their cause. 

But notwithstanding the many and powerful enemies 
which Julian made in his attempt to subvert Christianity, 
it could not be denied that he had great ability and many 
virtues, which, at an earlier period of history, would have 
placed him among the brightest and best of the emperors. 
He was brave by temperament, merciful in disposition, and 
affable in manners. He set an example of serious and al- 
most austere virtue. He disliked amusements,, and when 
compelled by custom to enter the theatre annually, he staid 
the shortest possible time necessary to fulfil his public func- 
tions. His mode of life was extremely temperate and simple. 
He dismissed the thousand barbers and servants of the 
bath, whom he found at the imperial palace, and retained 
but one personal attendant. A crowd of spies and in- 
formers were likewise sent away. By these and other 
retrenchments, he was enabled to remit to the people one- 
fifth part of all their taxes. He made great improvements 
in the courts of justice, and, with few exceptions, governed 
humanely. Excessive vanity may be forgiven in so young 
a man, endowed with showy talents and imperial power. 
His aversion to Christianity doubtless grew in part from 
personal animosity to his Christian cousin, who had mur- 
dered his family, and kept his youth under such jealous 
constraint. We ought, moreover, to remember that the 
multitudes swept into the baptismal pool by imperial in- 
fluence, decidedly tended to lower the general character 
of Christianity. As Julian found it, it was a warfare of 
abstruse doctrines, a perpetual struggle for ecclesiastical 
power, a mass of external forms, borrowed from various 
quarters, encrusting the living, loving heart of Christ's reli- 
gion. He verily believed that the rapid degeneracy of the 
Roman empire was owing to neglect of the ancient gods ; 
therefore his zeal to renovate the old worship was in fact a 
religious phase of patriotism. The determined opposition 
Vol. III.— 7* 


he met with increased bis hostility to the new faith. His 
grew more Btringenl in tin- I.- I of his reign. 

The holy writer used at the temples, called lustra! water, 
ised to be sprinkled on all the provisions in the mar- 
ket, and in all the public fountains; and Christians, who 
refused to partake of food or drink, which had thus be- 
Lnfected with idolatry, were led to execution. Ead 
he lived many years, he might possibly have become a re- 
lentless persecutor \ but he did not survive to prolong the 

In the year three hundred and sixty-five he became in- 
volved in a war with Persia, wdiich cost him his life, after 
an active and brilliant reign of one year and eight months. 
The story has been many times repeated that when mor- 
tally wounded by an arrow, he threw a handful of his 
blood toward heaven, exclaiming bitterly : " Thou hast 
conquered, O Galilean ! n But this improbable statement 
is now admitted to rest on insufficient authority. It had 
been predicted to him that he would die in battle, and he 
met his fate with philosophic composure. To the weeping 
friends, who crowded into his tent, he spoke with a firm 
and gentle voice, telling them what he wished to have done 
with his private fortune, trying to soothe their immoderate 
grief, begging them not to disgrace by unmanly tears the 
departure of a prince who would so soon ascend to heaven, 
and be united with the stars. He said: "I have learned 
from philosophy how much the soul is more excellent than 
the body, and that the separation of the nobler substance 
should be a source of joy, rather than affliction. I have 
also learned that the gods often bestow an early death, as 
the best reward of piety ; and I accept, as a favour from 
them, the mortal stroke that secures me from the danger 
of disgracing a character which has hitherto been sup- 
ported by virtue and fortitude." Calmly discoursing with 
his friends Maximus and Priscus, concerning the immor- 
tality of the soul, his spirit passed away. The account of 
his death is given by the Roman historian Ammianus, who 
was present at the scone. Adherents of the old worship 


mourned over him as their last hope ; and eulogized him 
in terms almost as unmeasured as the bishops had done 
Constantine. Theodoret, the Christian historian, says that 
when the news was received at Antioch, the Christians had 
festal dances in the churches, and at the cemeteries of mar- 
tyrs, and that they celebrated the triumph of the cross at 
the theatre. 

Jovian. — Jovian, who was proclaimed emperor, imme- 
diately announced himself a Christian ; but declared that 
people were free to follow the old religion ; that he should 
punish nothing but magic. It was unknown what sect he 
would favour, and all were eager to make a favourable 
impression on him. The theological warfare, which had 
been hushed for awhile, by a sense of common danger, was 
renewed. The highways were crowded with Athanasian, 
Arian, Semi-Arian, and Anomaean bishops, trying to out- 
strip each other. The new prince was almost stunned by 
their arguments and mutual invectives. He recommended 
charity toward each other, and proclaimed universal tolera- 
tion to all forms of worship. Something concerning prin- 
ciples of freedom had been slowly learned in this conflict 
of centuries. Themistius, who adhered to the ancient rites 
of his country, in an address to the new sovereign warmly 
praised his liberality. He says : "You are aware that the 
monarch cannot force everything from his subjects ; that 
there are things superior to all constraint, all threatening, 
all law. This is the case with virtue in general ; but it is 
especially true concerning piety toward God. You have 
wisely considered that nothing but hypocrisy is produced, 
unless the unconstrained and absolutely free will of man is 
left to move first. Deity has implanted religious sentiments 
in all human beings; but his law remains forever un- 
changeable, that each man's soul is free in reference to his 
own peculiar mode of worship." 

Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzen, manifested a similar 
spirit, though he claims it as a peculiarity of Christianity; 
forgetting that all men had learned somewhat, during this 


protracted struggle. He exhorted his people not to retal- 
iate the injuries they had received during Julian's reign. 

B id: "Let us si iow what a difference there is between 
what these men Irani from their gods, and the L< 
which Christ teaches us. Let us promote the spread of the 
Gospel by long Buffering, and subdue oppressors by gentle- 
ness." Of course, a worthless crowd of proselytes, ready 
to jump on either side, again came over to the religion of 
the emperor. 

Valkntimax. — Jovian had a brief reign, and was suc- 
ceeded by Valentinian, a semi-barbarian in character; igno- 
rant, severe, and gross in debauchery, lie is said to have 
withdrawn from Julian's army, rather than seem to wor- 
ship the gods by saluting the standards. He was an Atha- 
nasian, but followed Jovian's system of toleration. Some 
of the estates lavishly bestowed by Julian, for the benefit 
of the old worship, were taken back into the imperial do- 
main. But the priesthood remained undisturbed, and a 
military guard, in which Christians were not required to 
serve, was appointed to protect the temples from depreda- 
tion or insult. Religious festivals prolonged into midnight, 
were prohibited, because the concourse of all sorts of people, 
brought together under the veil of darkness, had led to 
gross immoralities. Prcetextatus, Governor of Achaia, a 
man universally respected for his learning and excellent 
character, was a devout worshipper of the old deities. He 
petitioned the emperor to except the Eleusiniun Mysteries; 
representing that the life of Grecians would be dreary and 
comfortless without the inestimable blessing of that sacred 
institution. Those Mysteries, ancient and venerable, had 
always been observed with the greatest solemnity and de- 
corum ; and his request was immediately granted. The 
old rites of divination at the temples were allowed, pro- 
vided the Augurs were not consulted for any treasonable 
or bad purpose. But severe inquisition was made into the 
practice of magic, in consequence of complaints from one 
of the subordinate magistrates of Rome, who averred that 


attempts bad been made, by three obscure persons, to de- 
stroy himself and wife by magical arts. These, being put 
to cruel torture, made confessions, which implicated many 
people, of all ranks, as seeking the aid of magic for licen- 
tious purposes, for poisoning, and all manner of crimes. 
From time immemorial, it had been supposed that Spirits 
of the stars, the waters, the earth, and regions under the 
earth, would impart their power to men and women, if 
sought with mysterious ceremonies, solemn incantations, 
potent herbs, and bloody sacrifices. These things, after 
having been practised for centuries, not only with impu- 
nity, but generally with honour and profit, had been gra- 
dually growing into disrepute ; not because the power of 
magic was doubted by any class of men, but because it had 
become a trade with increasing numbers of low, base itin- 
erants, willing to use it for the worst of purposes. But still 
many men of rank and education continued to seek its aid 
in emergencies, regarding it as a true science, though per- 
verted and misused by the wicked. Therefore, when it 
came to be treated as a crime, punishable with death, it 
seemed to throw a pall over the whole empire ; especially, 
as it furnished a ready means of gratifying personal hatred 
and revenge. Valentinian authorized the Proefect of Rome 
to extort evidence by the most cruel tortures. Spies and 
informers were everywhere on the alert. There was an 
extreme reluctance to acquit any one who was accused. A 
species of insanity seemed to prevail on the subject. The 
most improbable charges were proved against individuals 
of the highest character. Senators, matrons, and philoso- 
phers were dragged to prison in chains, scourged, racked, 
and put to death in the most ignominious manner. The em- 
peror kept two fierce bears chained near his bed-chamber, 
to tear criminals in pieces for his amusement. One of these 
animals was afterward turned loose into the forest, as a re- 
ward for his services to the state. 

In the Eastern part of the empire, governed by the 
emperor's brother, Valens, the persecution raged still more 
terribly ; his fears having been excited by a rumour that 


magical arts had been employed to spoil out, by a circle of 
letters, the name of bim who would succeed him on the 
throne. Suspicions that a treasonable plot was therewith 

connected made him extremely anxious to ascertain what 
name the circle had indicated. Several philosophers, some 
of them Julian's personal friends, were implicated in the 

transaction ; being suspected of wishing to restore his order 
of things. One of them was horribly tortured to induce 
him to give evidence against a suspected magistrate ; but 
no agony could induce him to say otherwise than that the 
man was innocent. Another, very young, but of austere 
philosophy, acknowledged that he knew the secret of the 
name, but declared that no power should compel him to 
divulge it. He was burned alive, and met his fate with 
stoical calmness. Maximus made a similar confession, but 
declared it unworthy of a philosopher to divulge a secret 
intrusted to him. lie was executed, and many others with 
him. The excellent Priscus was accused and imprisoned 
for a short time, but had the rare good fortune to be dis- 
missed as blameless. He retired into Greece, where he 
lived solitary in the temples, till he was eighty years old. 
Eunapius cites him as " a rare example of longevity, at a 
time when so many distinguished men killed themselves 
in despair, or had their throats cut by barbarians." A 
Koman youth suffered death merely for copying an old 
book of magical incantations. So strict was the search for 
such books, that many men of learning burned their entire 
libraries, fearing lest some sentence they contained might 
be construed into magic. Few Christians suffered from 
this persecution ; for believing that magical skill was de- 
rived from Evil Spirits, they were rarely tempted to con- 
sult it. 

Valens had been baptized by an Arian bishop, and 
always retained his predilection for that sect. Patronized 
by the government, it maintained the ascendancy it always 
had in the East. In almost every city, there were two 
rival bishops, each claiming to be legitimate authority, and 
regarding the other with watchful animosity. Valens, a 


weak-minded man, often lent himself as an instrument of 
episcopal jealousy. Being at Edessa, he commanded the 
Governor to break up all assemblies of the Athanasians. 
The Governor was an Arian, but he pitied the people, and 
gave them private information of the orders he had re- 
ceived ; hoping they would refrain from meeting. But the 
next morning, they nocked together in greater numbers than 
ever. Seeing a woman hurrying along, leading a little child, 
he inquired : " Whither goest thou in so much haste ? Know- 
est thou not that the Governor has orders to kill all he finds 
in the church ?" She replied : " I know it very well. There- 
fore, I make so much haste, lest I should arrive too late to 
secure the crown of martyrdom." Being asked why she 
was dragging her little son along with her, she answered : 
" That he also may have his share of the reward." Grieved 
to see people thus led like sheep to the slaughter, the 
Governor went back to the palace, and succeeded in dis- 
suading the emperor from his bloody design. 

It had become very fashionable for the wealthy to seek 
salvation for their souls by leaving large estates to the 
church. In this way, the ecclesiastical revenues had be- 
come immense ; though scarcely half a century had elapsed 
since Constantine passed the law empowering his subjects 
to make such bequests. Devout women, especially, were 
easily induced to build churches, or leave their wealth for 
charitable purposes, at the disposal of the clergy. The 
evil became so great, that Yalentinian forbade ecclesiastics 
to frequent the houses of widows, or receive testamentary 
donations; confining them to their own natural and legal 
rights of inheritance. 

Theodosius. — In three hundred and seventy-eight, 
Gratian became emperor of the Western part of the em- 
pire. He was a very young man, entirely under the influ- 
ence of Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. ' The East was ruled 
by Theodosius the Great, an hereditary Christian, educated 
in the Athanasian creed. He soon announced his deter- 
mination to exterminate the old worship, root and branch. 


Human sacrifices had never been a custom with the Ro- 
mans, and they uniformly forbade them in the nations they 
conquered. But in some provinces, tho barbarous rite was 
practised, though very rarely, and usually in obedience to 
the command of some oracle. Theodosius abolished it, 
under penalty of death. Magical arts, and the inspection 
of the entrails of victims, for purposes of divination, were 
forbidden under the same penalty. All property belong- 
ing to the temples was confiscated, for benefit of the army, 
and the churches ; the priesthood were deprived of all 
their privileges ; sacrifices were forbidden, either within or 
without the temples ; and any magistrate who entered a 
temple was fined fifteen pounds of gold. Hitherto, all the 
Christian emperors had followed the old custom of assuming 
the office and title of Pontifex Maximus, and of acting on 
state occasions as High Priest of the worship they had 
deserted. But when the Senate of Rome sent a solemn 
deputation to Gratian, to perform the usual ceremony of 
inauguration, he rejected the intended honour with con- 
tempt. The Goddess of Fortune, with whose worship the 
welfare and glory of Rome was supposed to have been inti- 
mately connected for ages, was ordered to be taken from 
her pedestal, and her altar destroyed. Sorrow and un- 
feigned alarm took possession of all the people, who re- 
tained any reverence for the old order of things. Deputa- 
tions were sent to remonstrate earnestly with the youthful 
emperor, imploring him to be cautious how he thus endan- 
gered the safety of the state ; but the Christians sent in a 
counter petition, through Damasus, their bishop, and his 
influence prevailed. 

Monks, who had become numerous at this period, were 
everywhere the fiercest and most reckless enemies of the 
old worship. Soon after the accession of Theodosius, they 
began to traverse the rural districts, overturning the altars, 
demolishing temples, and plundering their rich treasures, 
wherever they found them unprotected. This desecration 
was regarded by many of the country people not only with 
deep grief, but with absolute terror. Their simple faith, 


rooted in the soil of centuries, had not been shaken by so 
many rude storms of political revolution, or slowly under- 
mined by self-interest, as had been the case in cities. The 
peasant woman, when she laid her fragrant offering of 
blossoms on the altar, felt sure that the kind Goddess of 
Flowers would sprinkle her garden with dew, and fill it 
with honey for the bees. The farmer had undoubting faith 
that the altar, or image of a deity, among his grape-vines, 
or his wheat, was a security against drought and blight, 
and destructive insects. When they saw squalid-looking 
men, with matted hair, and dirty dresses, going about in- 
sulting the beneficent Spirits, who they verily believed 
had protected them and their forefathers for ages, they 
expected storm, pestilence, and famine, as the inevitable 
consequence ; and their sorrow, fear, and indignation knew 
no bounds. In many places, the rustic population rose in 
defence of their sacred buildings and images, and succeeded 
in driving off the invaders, some of whom they put to death. 
Theophilus, Bishop of Alexandria, was peculiarly zealous 
in finding accusations against adherents of the old worship 
in that city. A temple of Osiris had been granted by the 
emperor to the Christians, who proceeded to build a church 
on the ground. While digging the foundation, they found 
various symbols used in the worship of the god; and 
among them was the emblem of the generative principle, 
connected with many religious ceremonies in Hindostan, 
Egypt, Greece, and Eome. This ancient symbol was asso- 
ciated in their minds with reverence and gratitude to a 
beneficent Deity, for the mysterious reproduction of life, 
in all departments of the universe; but to Christians, it 
suggested nothing but indecency. The Bishop so far for- 
got the dignity becoming his office, that he exposed these 
symbols in the market-place, where they were examined 
by the crowd with jokes and scornful laughter. Those 
who revered the old Egyptian worship were exasperated 
beyond measure. They rushed upon the jesters, and a 
conflict ensued, in which the streets flowed with blood. 
The Christians who were slain, received the honours of 
Vol. III.— 8 


martyrdom, and tlie zeal of survivors was redoubled. 
Conscious of power, they were not sparing of threats or 
accusal it >ns. Hostility between the factions daily increased. 
It was rumoured that beautiful women of high rank were 
decoyed into the Temple of Serapis, under the pretence of 
being chosen favourites of the god, who was in fact repre- 
sented by his priests. These stories, doubtless more or 
less true concerning all powerful priesthoods, since the 
world began, were diligently circulated, and pointed popu- 
lar hostility toward the Temple of Serapis. Surrounded 
by walls and outer courts, the building was strong as a 
citadel. The worshippers of Serapis, expecting an attack, 
collected there in great numbers, and from time to time 
sallied forth to seize Christians, whom they forced to offer 
sacrifice on their altar, or slew them and threw their bodies 
into a deep trench filled with the offals of victims. Magis- 
trates came with troops, and threatened them with ven- 
geance of the law ; but they were beaten back, and obliged 
to wait for orders from the emperor. Olympus, a philoso- 
pher, had endeavoured to cheer his associates in those dark 
days, and prepare their minds for the destruction of exter- 
nal objects of worship, which he foresaw must come. He 
reminded them that "the statues of the gods were but 
perishable material images ; that the Immortal Spirits who 
once dwelt within them had withdrawn to the stars." 
Wrought up by the excitement of present danger, he 
strove to stimulate his friends to obstinate resistance ; say- 
ing : " Let us make a glorious sacrifice of our enemies, and 
then immolate ourselves, and perish with our gods." But 
at midnight, when the gates were fastened, and all was 
still, one clear, strong voice sang, "Hallelujah!" and the 
tones resounded through the silent temple. Regarding it 
either as an alarming omen, or as an indication that Chris- 
tians had secret means of ingress to their fortress, his cour- 
age failed. He stole out of the temple, and embarked for 
Italy. An imperial edict soon arrived authorizing the 
destruction of the world-renowned Temple of Serapis. It 
was received with tumultuous shouts of joy by the Chris- 


tiati populace, while philosophers and priests fled to secret 
places. The Archbishop Theophilus, with an army of 
soldiers and monks, hastened with all zeal to the work of 
devastation. The far-famed Alexandrian Library had been 
partially destroyed by fire during the invasion of the city 
by Julius Caesar, but the loss had been in a measure re- 
paired by an extensive library, which Mark Anthony pre- 
sented to Cleopatra. Three hundred thousand volumes 
were preserved in rooms within the inclosure of the Temple 
of Serapis. The monks from the desert who were led on to 
this attack by the archbishop, were generally ignorant men, 
with a strong contempt for human learning. They would 
therefore be likely to have little respect for this great store- 
house of the genius and learning of ages. But they were 
avaricious of plunder ; and as rare manuscripts were then 
valued as diamonds are now, it is not unlikely that many 
of them were preserved and sold. What proportion of 
them was destroyed is unknown. They were all pillaged, 
and it is supposed that many were burned. Orosius, a 
Christian historian, who visited the Library rooms, twenty- 
five years after, says : "I saw the empty book-cases, which 
were broken open ; and men of these times relate that they 
were plundered by our people." [That is, by Christians.] 

When the crowd entered the sanctuary of the temple, 
the colossal statue was so impressive in its majesty, and 
Christians were so thoroughly imbued with the idea that 
Evil Spirits lurked about the temples and statues, in which 
they had been accustomed to be worshipped, that for a 
moment their purpose was arrested. The archbishop seeing 
them thus irresolute, ordered a soldier to strike the image. 
He struck it first on the knee, and then climbing up chopped 
off the head. A large colony of rats ran out, and converted 
the fears of the multitude into boisterous mirth. The huge 
limbs of Serapis were dragged through the streets with 
shouts and mockery, and finally burnt in the amphi- 
theatre. To demolish the massive architecture of the 
temple was the work of time. An army of monks from 
the desert encamped among the ruins, and a Christian 


church soon rose on the foundations of the ancient sanc- 

Serapie presided over the inundations of the Nile, on 
which the fertility of Egypt depended; of course, many 
fears were entertained lest the land would be punished for 
the indignity offered to the god. When the time came for 
the annual overflow, the people watched with anxiety ; 
and when they saw the waters remain for several days at 
their usual level, the alarm began to spread, and there was 
a loud demand that the customary sacrifices should be 
offered. The inflexible emperor answered that Egypt must 
go dry, if the inundation depended on the practice of idol- 
atrous rites. Doubtless this answer would have excited 
insurrection, had not the Nile begun to swell before it ar- 
rived. The overflow was even more abundant than usual, 
and the fickle populace joined with the Christians in mock- 
ing the dethroned Serapis. 

Christian writers were eloquent in their exultation over 
the downfall of idolatry; and writers on the other side 
were proportionably bitter in their expressions of hatred 
and contempt for the monks. Eunapius describes the scene 
thus : " Men, who had never heard war spoken of, bravely 
attacked the Serapeum with stones, demolished it, and 
scattered the offerings, which the veneration of ages had 
accumulated there. Having courageously given battle to* 
statues, they made a military convention that all they had 
stolen was a fair prize. But as they could not carry away 
the land, however much they might wish it, those heroic 
conquerors retired, and were replaced in the occupation of 
the sacred soil by monks ; that is to say, by beings having 
the appearance of men, living like the vilest animals, and 
giving themselves up in public to the most disgusting ac- 
tions that can be imagined ; for it was for them an act of 
piety to profane this sacred place, in all manner of ways. 
These monks encamped among the ruins of the Serapeum, 
and slaves and criminals were seen receiving worship there, 
instead of the gods of intellect. In exchange for the heads 
of our divinities, they showed the dirty skulls of miserable 


convicts, and knelt before them, and adored them. Infidel 
slaves, torn by the whip and furrowed with marks of their 
crimes, they call martyrs, deacons, and leaders in prayer ! 
Such are the new gods of this earth I Whoever wears a 
black robe has despotic power. Philosophy, and piety to 
the gocls, are compelled to retire into secret places, to dwell 
in contented poverty and dignified meanness of appear- 

The work of destruction went on far and wide. Theo- 
philus soon after marched at the head of his party, and 
demolished the temple and statue of Canopus, god of hu- 
midity. Martin, Bishop of Tours, undertook the task of 
extirpating idolatry in Gaul. He marched all over the 
country with a band of monks, destroying altars and 
temples, and building churches in their place. He asserts 
positively that during these predatory excursions, Jupiter, 
or Mercury, or Minerva, often appeared to him, and did 
their utmost to turn him from his work. Marcellus of Apa- 
mea pursued the same course in Syria. A massive temple 
of Jupiter, standing on a lofty eminence, long resisted their 
attacks, but it was finally undermined and overthrown. A 
band of rustics, who were watching the progress of the 
work, waylaid Marcellus, when he was at a distance from 
his companions, and burned him alive. He was placed 
among the martyrs, and the synod of his province refrained 
from taking any means to punish a death, which they 
deemed so happy for himself, and so glorious for his family. 
In almost every province of the Eoman world, a large por- 
tion of the temples were destroyed. Where monks were 
not numerous, some were left to the slow decay of time. 
Others, whose construction could be easily altered for the 
purpose, were converted into churches. The Temple of 
the Celestial Yenus at Carthage, whose beautiful groves 
formed a circumference of two miles ; a temple at Damas- 
cus ; and another at Heliopolis, were enclosed and conse- 
crated to the use of the Christians. 

Some of the more prudent bishops tried to check the 
insatiable zeal of their people for destroying altars and 
Vol. III.— 8* 


images, which were left on estates to protect the fields; an 
idea cherished by many of fehe landholders, as well as the 
labourers, Augustine says: " Many have those abomina- 
tions upon their estates. Shall we go about to destroy 
them ? No. Let us make it our first business to extirpate 
the idols in their hearts. Then, they will either invite us 
to so good a work, or they will anticipate us in it. At 
present, we must pray for them, not exasperate them." 

Petitions came from all quarters, begging that places of 
worship might be spared. Libanius, the orator, who re- 
mained faithful to the old religion, pleaded for the pres- 
ervation of the temples, in an oration addressed to the 
emperor. He entreated that they might be saved from de- 
struction, if not for religious purposes, at least as beautiful 
ornaments to the cities, and sources of revenue, if applied 
to other purposes. More sadly and earnestly pleaded the 
eloquent Symmachus, an upright and fearless magistrate, 
who was fully persuaded that the welfare of his country 
depended on the worship of the ancient deities. In a peti- 
tion which he wrote to be offered by the senate, alluding to 
a severe famine the preceding year, as proof that the gods 
were offended, he asks: "Were our fathers ever compelled 
to suffer anything like this, when the ministers of religion 
had a public maintenance ?" He represents Rome herself 
as expostulating thus: " Most excellent princes, fathers of 
your country, respect my years, and still permit me to prac- 
tise the worship of my ancestors in which I have grown 
old. This religion subdued the world to my dominion. 
Grant me but the privilege of living according to my an- 
cient usage. I ask only for peace to the gods of Rome ; 
the tutelary deities of your country. Heaven is above all. 
We cannot all follow the same path. There are many 
ways to arrive at the great secret. We presume not to 
contend. We are humble supplicants." 

Ambrose, the able Bishop of Milan, resisted the slightest 
approach to a compromise. In his answer to Symmachus, 
he says: "The emperor, who should be guilty of such con- 
cessions, would soon learn that the bishops would neither 


Connive at, nor endure his sin. If he entered a church, he 
would find no priest, or one who would defy his authority. 
The church would indignantly reject the gifts of him who 
shared them with Gentile temples. The altar disdains the 
offerings of him who has made oblations to images. It is 
written, ' Man cannot serve two masters.' " 

Rome remained the last stronghold of the old worship. 
The city contained three hundred temples, and innumerable 
altars and statues, which stood long after all was falling in 
other parts of the empire. The magnificence of the edifices, 
the pomp of festivals, were there, more than elsewhere, 
connected with all great and interesting epochs of their 
history. Romans clung to these reminiscences of past 
glory, with the tenacious grasp of men in a death-struggle. 
The emperors had not yet ventured to proclaim such 
severe edicts there. The laws passed by Theodosius in 
the East were not in force in Rome. The temples were 
still open, and a portion of the public revenue was appro- 
priated to worship. 

A favourable moment was seized for insurrection, and 
Eugenius, a votary of the gods, was placed on the throne. 
The temples were re-opened throughout Italy, the smoke 
of sacrifices ascended, the altar of Victory was restored to 
its place, and pictures of the gods again floated on the ban- 
ners. Ambrose fled from Milan, for the victorious soldiers 
threatened to stable horses in the churches, and compel the 
clergy to serve in the army. 

The tidings of this rebellion made Theodosius pass still 
more stringent laws in the East. All divination or magic 
was punishable with death, whatever might be its object. 
Whoever offered any sacrifice, or connived at its being of- 
fered, even in a private house, was fined twenty -five pounds 
of gold ; nearly five thousand dollars of our money. Any 
house in which incense was burned was confiscated to the 
imperial treasury. Whoever made an altar of turf on his 
own grounds, or hung a garland on a tree, forfeited his 
estate thereby. Theodosius marched against Eugenius, 
who was slain. Rome gave up the struggle in despair. 


Many of the noble families went over to the religion of the 
conqueror. The senate debated the claims of Jupiter and 
Christ. The Christian poet, Prudentius, says Jupiter was 
out-voted by a large majority. Bui Zozimus, the Greek, 
who belonged to the other party, has recorded, in his His- 
tory of the Roman Empire, that tin.- Benate adhered firmly, 
though respectfully, to their ancient deities. The house- 
hold gods were not interfered with ; the temples remained 
standing, and no one Was forbidden to worship within thein r 
provided they did it without sacrificing. The civil rights 
of the conservatives were respected. The schools, the 
army, and the senate, were rilled with believers in the old 
gods. Platonists freely wrote sarcastic strictures on the 
proceedings of Christians. There was a personal friendship 
between Theodosius and Libanius the orator, and he was 
never required to conceal his opinions. Thus far, the em- 
peror made politic concessions to a party still powerful in 
that part of his empire ; but he refused to allow any funds 
from the public revenue for support of the ancient worship. 
The order of Vestal Virgins was abolished, the sacred fire 
extinguished, and oracles hushed by imperial command. 
Priests and priestesses, deprived of their maintenance, were 
scattered. Some priesthoods were still handed down in 
regular descent, and some rites and festivals continued to 
be observed, either without sacrifice or with sacrifice by 
stealth. Many conformed outwardly to the paramount re- 
ligion, who were not inwardly convinced. External signs 
of the old worship disappeared from cities. But in country 
places, the rustic population long continued to assemble in 
the shadow of groves, and keep their old festivals, with 
sacrifices of sheep and oxen, under the appearance of a 
mere social banquet. They even contrived to sing hymns 
in honour of the gods, in such a manner as to evade the 
laws. Landholders connived at such practices, influenced 
by the old belief that the fertility of the fields depended on 
them. A poet who wrote after the time of Theodosius de- 
scribes the Cross as the emblem of a god worshipped only 
in cities. In consequence of this long lingering of the old 


faith in rural districts, it came to be called the Pagan reli- 
gion ; from the Latin word Paganus, signifying a villager, 
or peasant. 

But there were also men of education, who retained 
a strong predilection for the old ideas, which they had 
spiritualized by an infusion of Platonism. The simple 
phraseology of Scripture was not acceptable to these men, 
who had formed a taste for highly rhetorical embellish- 
ments ; and they judged religion not so much by a standard 
of faith, as by respectable morality. When imperial edicts 
manufactured Christians by thousands, there were of course 
great numbers whose lives did little credit to the religion 
they professed. When attempts were made to convert 
Platonists, they often replied : " Why would you persuade 
me to embrace this new religion ? I have been cheated by 
Christians, but I never defrauded any man. A Christian 
has broken his oath to me, but I never violated my simple 
word to any man." 

All the Christian sects, that differed from the emperor in 
opinion, were more severely proscribed than the polythe- 
istic worshippers had been. Constantine had summoned a 
Council at Nice, to settle the equal dignity of the Son and 
the Father. Theodosius summoned one hundred and fifty 
bishops to assemble at Constantinople, to settle the equal 
dignity of the Son and the Holy Ghost. This was followed 
by severe edicts against all who did not subscribe to the 
decision of that council. Their religious meetings were 
forbidden, in public or private, city or country, and every 
building or ground used for such purpose was forfeited to 
the imperial treasury. Very early in his reign, he pub- 
lished the following edict: "It is our pleasure that all the 
nations governed by our clemency and moderation should 
stedfastly adhere to the religion which was taught by Saint 
Peter to the Eomans, faithfully preserved by tradition, and 
now professed by the Pontiff Damasus, and by Peter, Bishop 
of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness. According to 
the discipline of the Apostles, and the doctrine of the 
Gospel, let us believe the sole Deity of the Father, the Son, 


and the Iloly Ghost; under an equal majesty, and a holy 
Trinity. We authorize the followers of this doctrine to 
assume the title of Catholic Christians; and as we judge 
that all others are extravagant madmen, we brand them 
with the infamous name of heretics, and declare that their 
conventicles shall no longer usurp the respectable name of 
churches. Besides the condemnation of Divine Justice, 
they must expect to suffer the severe penalties, which our 
authority, guided by Heavenly Wisdom, shall think proper 
to inflict upon them." 

On the accession of Theodosius, it is said that Arians 
possessed all the churches in the East, except in Jerusalem. 
But after the publication of this edict, the Arian prelate at 
Constantinople was ordered to subscribe the Nicene Creed, 
or relinquish his episcopal palace, the cathedral of Santa 
Sophia, and all the churches in his diocese, to orthodox 
believers. He preferred banishment, and went into exile. 
A large majority of the inhabitants of Constantinople were 
Arians ; but they were obliged to give up their hundred 
churches to a sect not numerous enough to fill them. 
Gregory of Nazianzen was appointed bishop, but he en- 
tered the enraged city guarded by the emperor and a strong 
military force, and it was necessary to garrison the cathe- 
dral with imperial troops. He confesses that it seemed to 
him like a city taken by storm. The sky was cloudy when 
they started, but just as the procession began to enter the 
cathedral, the sun burst forth and made the swords and 
armour of the soldiers glitter in its rays. This was hailed 
with acclamations, .as an auspicious omen. The next 
week, Theodosius expelled all the clergy throughout his 
dominions, who refused to sign the established creed. In 
the course of fifteen years, he published fifteen decrees 
against heretical sects. His severest penalties were directed 
against those who rejected the Athanasian doctrine of the 
Trinity. No such person was allowed to hold any honour- 
able or lucrative employment. Arians were forbidden to 
build any churches, in city or country, under penalty of 
the confiscation of their funds. Apollinarians were for- 


bidden to have any clergy, or hold any meetings, or to 
reside in cities. Anomaeans were not allowed to dispose 
of their own estates by will, or to receive any property by 
testamentary gift. The same was enacted concerning those 
who turned back from Christianity to Paganism. Mani- 
cheans were punishable with death, and prohibited from 
making wills. The Quartodecimans, who continued to keep 
Easter on the day of the Jewish Passover, instead of the 
day prescribed by the church at Rome, were also punish- 
able with death. Confiscation and exile were denounced 
against all who preached the doctrines, or practised the 
rites of any of the " accursed sects." Some went so far as 
to maintain that not only all heretics, but all who held any 
intercourse with them, must not only make a public ac- 
knowledgment of their error, but must be re-baptized before 
they could be allowed to partake of the communion. 

Theodosius appointed an Inquisitor of the Faith, to in- 
quire into opinions; an office hitherto unknown. Chris- 
tians had often killed each other in turmoils, and the 
government had put men to death for sectarian riots and 
depredations; but in this reign, blood was for the first 
time shed, by authority of Christian law, merely and avow- 
edly on account of theological opinions. Priscillian, a 
man of rank in Spain, and a bishop, entertained many of 
the Gnostic views in connection with Christianity. He 
believed that the souls of men were portions of the Deity, 
imprisoned in material bodies, as a punishment. Conse- 
quently he denied the resurrection of the body, and was 
shocked at the idea that the Son of Grod could be born of 
a woman. He received all the books of the Hebrew and 
Christian Scriptures, even the apocryphal ones; giving 
them a spiritual interpretation, which sustained his doc- 
trines. He was the founder of a numerous sect, famous 
for austere morals, and mortification of the senses. They 
abstained from marriage, never tasted animal food, fasted 
often, watched and prayed almost continually. Their 
mode of worship was exceedingly simple and spiritual. 
They rejected baptism, the Lord's Supper, and all external 


ordinances. They would not call their teachers bishops or 
priests, but named them Secretaries, or Companions in 
Travel. Priscillian was twice banished, and iinally put to 
death, in three hundred eighty four, by order of Maximus, 
colleague of Theodosius. Several of his adherents, among 
whom were some noble women, were tortured and executed. 

The private character of Theodosius was very exem- 
plary, but his temper was imperious and violent. He was 
a strict observer of all ceremonies prescribed by the church ; 
but the prevailing idea of the efficacy of baptism to wash 
away all sin led him to delay that rite until a dangerous 
illness, during the first year of his reign, induced him to 
hasten the ceremony. 

The power which the church obtained over this despotic 
soldier was exemplified in a very remarkable manner on 
one occasion. In Thessalonica the populace had some dis- 
pute about a favourite charioteer in the circus. A riot 
ensued, and some of the imperial officers were killed in 
their efforts to quell it. Theodosius received the tidings 
when he was at Milan. His fiery temper kindled at once, 
and he vowed vengeance on the whole city ; for he per- 
mitted no violence to be done, except in obedience to his 
own commands. In vain the clergy exhorted him to 
moderate his wrath. An army of barbarians was sent to 
Thessalonica. Public games were given by the emperor 
in the circus, and all the inhabitants invited. When the 
building was entirely filled, the soldiers received a signal 
for indiscriminate massacre of men, women, and children. 
From seven to fourteen thousand were slain. Ambrose, 
Bishop of Milan, who was then ill in the country, wrote 
to the emperor : " Sin can be removed only by tears and 
repentance. No angel or archangel can forgive sin ; and 
the Lord himself forgives only those who come to him 
with repentance. I dare not distribute the holy elements, 
if you intend to be present and receive them. Where the 
blood of so many innocent persons has been shed, shall I 
venture to do that which I should not presume to do, if 
but one innocent individual had been killed?" He ex- 


horted him to repent, and promised to pray for him, but 
would not change his determination to exclude him from 
communion. When the imperial culprit went to the 
church, to offer his devotions as usual, the bishop met him 
at the threshold, and said, "Stand back, thou man of 
blood!" Theodosius humbly pleaded that King David 
also sinned, yet God accepted him. Ambrose replied : 
" As you have imitated him in sin, copy him also in re- 
pentance." The emperor confessed his guilt, and promised 
to submit to any penance imposed upon him. He was 
ordered not to appear in church again for eight months, 
and to go through a certain form of prayers and religious 
exercises every day at home. Meantime, the Christmas 
festival occurred, and when all the world were thronging 
to the churches, Theodosius sent a message, imploring to 
be admitted ; urging that he had every day obeyed to the 
letter all that had been enjoined upon him. Ambrose 
replied : " The emperor has power to kill me, but he must 
pass over my body, before he can enter the sanctuary of 
the Lord." "When the eight months had expired, the 
episcopal interdict was removed, on two conditions. The 
emperor was required to publish an edict, forbidding any 
execution to take place throughout the empire, until thirty 
days after the culprit had been convicted by due process 
of law. In the next place, as his sin had been public, it 
was required that his penance should be public also. Ac- 
cordingly, he took off his royal robes, and insignia of 
office, covered himself with sackcloth, prostrated himself 
on the pavement of the church, in view of the whole con- 
gregation, beat his breast, tore his hair, threw ashes on his 
head, and with tears implored forgiveness of his great sin ; 
repeating the words of King David, " My soul cleaveth to 
the dust, quicken thou me according to thy word." Hav- 
ing thus publicly humbled himself, he was again allowed 
to frequent the church, but he confessed to Ambrose that 
not a day of his life passed without his feeling a pang for 
that cruel transaction. 

Theodosius lived but few months after his triumph over 
Vol. III.— 9 e 


Eugcnius in Rome. But so active and energetic had been 
his measures for the downfall of idolatry, that the religion 
thenceforth called Pagan, lingered in the empire only as a 
pale disembodied ghost. What the inflexible will of 
Athanasiua had begun, was so effectually aided by his 
strong arm, and the powerful character of Ambrose, that 
the church which he decreed should be Universal, and 
therefore named it Catholic, ruled all Europe for a thou- 
sand years, and the creed thus established is still received 
as an inheritance by a large majority of Christendom. 


I will now revert to a few of the most prominent cha- 
racters in the Christian church, while the events I have 
related in its external history were in progress. 

Lactantius. — Lactantius, who is supposed to have died 
about the year three hundred and thirty, was a philosopher 
and rhetorician, who became so famous, that Diocletian 
invited him to settle near the imperial court at Nicomedia, 
and practise his art. There he became a convert to Chris- 
tianity. When quite an old man, he was summoned to 
Gaul, to superintend the education of Crispus, the unfor- 
tunate son of Constantine. He wrote many books on re- 
ligious subjects, some of which are still extant. From the 
elegance of his style, he has been called the Christian 

Athanasius. — It is said that Alexander, Bishop of 
Alexandria, on the occasion of a festival in honour of one 
of his martyred predecessors, observed a troop of boys at 
their play, imitating the rites of the church. One of them 
enacted the part of bishop, and performed all the usual 
ceremonies of baptism. Regarding this as a forerunner of 
what the child was to be, he caused him to be educated 
with express reference to an ecclesiastical profession. This 
boy was the celebrated Athanasius, who soon became dis- 


tinguislied at school for the quickness of his intellect. In 
his youth, he was the private secretary of his patron. 
Being drawn toward monastic life, he went into the desert, 
and spent some time with the famous hermit, Anthony. 
When he returned, he was appointed archdeacon, and at 
the Council of Nice gained great reputation by the ability 
he displayed in the Arian controversy. Six months after, 
he succeeded his friend as Bishop of Alexandria. He is 
said to have been little cultivated in general literature, but 
deeply versed in biblical learning. To him, more than to 
any other person, the Christian world owes what was after- 
ward generally received as orthodox doctrine concerning 
the Trinity; therefore he is often called "the father of 
theology." He lived at a stormy period, and was a spirit 
well calculated to ride on the storm. He was banished 
from his bishopric, recalled in triumph, banished and re- 
called, again and again ; attacked with the utmost rancour 
of theological hatred ; protected and defended with the 
utmost warmth of theological zeal ; accused of many mis- 
demeanours and crimes, and always satisfactorily vindi- 
cated ; unyielding in his opinions, hot in controversy, but 
never convicted of dishonesty toward his opponents. He 
sustained all reverses with fortitude, and could neither be 
driven or tempted to swerve from the course which his 
own mind had established as the right one. When Con- 
stantine deposed him on account of charges brought against 
him, he appeared in the midst of a long train of ecclesias- 
tics, as the emperor was riding through the streets, and 
demanded a hearing. Constantine tried to pass in silence; 
but the bold prelate exclaimed: " God will judge between 
you and me, since you thus take part with my slanderers. 
I only demand that they should be summoned, and my 
cause heard in the imperial presence." The emperor ac- 
knowledged the justice of his request, and summoned his 
accusers. Being informed that Athanasius boasted he 
could force him to his wishes, by cutting off the supplies 
of corn from Alexandria to Constantinople, he formed a 
strong dislike of him, banished him to the distant city of 


Treves, and was ever after accustomed to designate him 
as " proud, turbulent, obstinate, and intractable." Where- 
ever he resided, the clergy were devoted to him, and so 
wore a majority of the people. His commanding character 
and inflexible will had immense power over the minds of 
men. "When Constantius, from motives of policy, recalled 
him to Alexandria, bishops flocked from all parts to wel- 
come him, the city was illuminated, incense waved before 
him in the streets, alms distributed liberally to the poor, 
and prayers of thanksgiving offered in all the houses of his 
numerous friends. When Constantius again deposed him, 
on account of fresh charges against him, it was deemed 
necessary to send a force of five thousand men, to carry 
the order into effect. He was performing service in the 
church at midnight, preparatory to the communion, when 
the soldiers burst in. Amid the trampling of horses, and 
the clashing of steel, he exhorted the people to continue 
their worship ; and the choristers chanted " O give thanks 
unto the Lord," while the people responded, " For his 
mercy endureth forever." The clergy around him finally 
hurried him out of a private door, and compelled him to 
escape. He retired into the desert, where he outdid all 
the hermits in fasting and watching, penances and prayers. 
In vain his enemies hunted for his life. All the monks of 
the desert were his faithful adherents, and it was impossi- 
ble to trace him. During several months, he was concealed 
in his father's tomb. Twenty years of his life were passed 
in banishment ; but he finally died in peaceful possession 
of his bishopric, and left a high reputation for piety, be- 
nevolence, and unblemished virtue. He had the advan- 
tage of belonging to the victorious party, and nearly all 
that we know of him is recorded by his friends and ad- 

Basil. — Basil, called the Great, was born of a noble 
Christian family in Cappadocia, in the year three hundred 
and twenty-nine. During the persecution under Diocle- 
tian, his grandfather retired to a mountain forest, in Pon- 


tus. His grandmother was a very devout woman, who had 
often listened to the preaching of Gregory Thaumaturgus ; 
and her character and precepts had a powerful influence on 
her descendants. His father was an eminent lawyer, and 
he was educated for the same profession. Having received 
all the instruction Csesarea afforded, he went to Constanti- 
nople, where he studied rhetoric with the celebrated Liba- 
nius. He afterward went to Athens, where at that time 
many young men of talent congregated ; among whom was 
Julian, afterward emperor. He returned to Csesarea, where 
he became distinguished for eloquence as an advocate. 
But the religious impressions received in childhood, and 
the persuasions of his pious sister Macrina, induced him to 
quit the career of brilliant success which was opening be- 
fore him. He became interested in monastic life, and 
practised such severe austerities, that he reduced his body 
almost to a skeleton. He retired to a neighbouring moun- 
tain, where he built a monastery intended as a general 
asylum for orphans. There he spent twelve years, with a 
large company of devotees, who lived very austerely, and 
divided their time between useful labour, study of the 
Scriptures, and prayer. 

Basil took part in the controversy against Macedonius, 
concerning the equal dignity of the Son and the Holy 
Ghost, with almost as much zeal as Athanasius contended 
with Arians for the equal dignity of the Father and the 
Sun ; but he manifested more charity toward opponents, 
than was common with theological partisans. During a 
severe famine in Cappadocia he devoted the whole of his 
fortune to the relief of the sufferers. This increased the 
popularity he had already acquired by his piety, learning, 
and comparative mildness in controversy. At the age of 
forty-one, he was chosen Archbishop of Caesarea; but he 
always wore his monastic dress, and retained his ascetic 
habits. His administration was distinguished by energy, 
vigilance, strictness in church discipline, and careful exami- 
nation of candidates for the priesthood ; but especially for 
benevolence to the poor, for whom he caused asylums to 
Vol. III.— 9* 


be built in several cities. He was much celebrated for 
pulpit eloquence, and his prayers were believed to have 
miraculous power. There was a tradition concerning him, 
universally believed, that the Holy Spirit, in the form of a 
white dove, was frequently seen perched on his shoulders, 
inspiring him while he preached. 

When the emperor Valens was travelling through his 
diocese, he sent a messenger to him, requiring that he 
should perform the rites of the church in the Arian mode, 
and admit Arians to the communion. Basil refused to 
comply, and when reminded that the emperor had power 
to confiscate all his property, to banish him, and even to 
put him to death, he calmly replied : " He who owns noth- 
ing can lose nothing. All the possessions the emperor can 
take from me are my cloak, and a few books. Banishment 
can be no exile to me, since the whole earth is the Lord's. 
As for torture, my feeble body would yield to the first 
blows ; and death would only bring me nearer to the Lord, 
for whom my soul longs." The messenger, astonished by 
his quiet firmness, told the emperor that threats and blan- 
dishments were alike useless with that man; and he recom- 
mended violent measures. But Valens, aware of his great 
popularity, and commanding influence, deemed it impolitic 
to proceed against him. Fearing that his refusal to admit 
Arians might occasion some tumult, he resolved to appear 
at church himself, but to manifest his disapprobation by 
declining to partake of the communion. To his great sur- 
prise, Basil proceeded with the usual services of the day, 
without taking any notice of the imperial presence. No 
one offered him the communion, yet he found it impossible 
to be angry. The dignified appearance of the archbishop, 
his uncommon eloquence, and the general solemnity of the 
service, impressed him so deeply, that he went up to the 
altar and presented a gift. The attendant clergy looked at 
the archbishop, as if uncertain whether the offering of a 
heretic might be accepted. Basil, seeing that the emperor 
was much agitated, condescended to advance and receive 
his oblation. An interview afterward took place between 


them. Valens remained unconvinced on doctrinal points, 
but lie forbore to interfere with Basil's regulations, and 
gave him a liberal donation for the poor of his diocese. 

Basil died at fifty years old, his health being ruined by 
the severe asceticism he had practised. When the people 
heard he was dying, they flocked round the house, sobbing 
aloud, and praying earnestly to God to spare their good 
bishop. Gregory of Nazianzen says there was none of 
them who would not have willingly given up a portion of 
life, if they could have prolonged his. The funeral was 
solemnized with every possible testimonial of love and re- 
verence. It was attended by a vast concourse of Chris- 
tians, as well as Jews and Pagans; for all good men 
honoured his memory. Many were pressed to death in 
the crowd, and followed him to the unseen world. He 
left many writings of a controversial and religious charac- 
ter; Commentaries on the Scriptures, Treatises on Bap- 
tism, Virginity, Monastic Rules, and Christian Morals. 

Gregory. — Gregory was born at Nazianzen, in the 
same year as Basil the Great. His father belonged to one 
of the Gnostic sects, but was drawn over to the orthodox 
faith, by the prayers and tears and gentle example of his 
pious wife, Nonna, and was subsequently ordained Bishop 
of Nazianzen. They were childless for many years, and 
their affectionate souls longed for offspring. When at last 
a son was given to them, they carried him to the altar of 
the church, soon after his birth, placed a volume of the 
Gospels in his little hands, and dedicated him to the service 
of the Lord. The child was accustomed to hear this 
spoken of, and early learned to compare himself with the 
infant Samuel, whose infancy was consecrated to the ser- 
vice of the temple, where God called him in dreams. The 
devotional habits and religious teaching of his parents 
continually strengthened his serious tendencies. While he 
was yet a boy, he had a dream, which led him to resolve 
on a life of celibacy and holiness. In his sleep, he beheld 
two celestial virgins, in white robes, with faces that shone 


like stara. They look him in their arms and kissed him. 
Surprised at their wondrous beauty, be asked them whence 
they came. ( me of them replied: " I am ( lharity, and this 
is my sister Temperance. Wecome to thee Br >m Paradise, 

where we stand continually before the throne of Christ, 
and enjoy ineffable delights. Come to us, my son, and 
dwell with us for ever." 

His father caused him to be educated at the best schools 
in the empire. For that purpose he was sent to Alexan- 
dria, Constantinople, and Athens, where he pursued his 
studies in company with Basil the Great. From his ob- 
servation of the young prince Julian, who was at the same 
school, he predicted that he would depart from his out- 
ward conformity to Christianity. Gregory was baptized 
in his thirtieth year, and retired to monastic solitude with 
Basil, for whom he had formed a very intimate and tender 
friendship. They divided their time between manual la- 
bour and study of the Sacred Scriptures, and the writings 
of the early Fathers. Their favourite author was Origen, 
for whose character and writings they cherished profound 
veneration. Like his friend Basil, he injured his health 
by the austerities he practised. He lived on bread and 
salt, drank water only, and slept but little. He confesses 
that a life of celibacy was utterly repugnant to his nature ; 
but he deemed a departure from it incompatible with any 
great attainments in holiness. He wished to withdraw his 
mind altogether from worldly affairs, but a desire to assist 
the declining years of his parents compelled him to pay 
some attention to financial regulations. When Basil be- 
came Archbishop of Csesarea, he appointed him Bishop of 
Sasina, a small marshy town, where many roads met, and 
where there was a continual strife between travellers and 
custom-house officers. It was a post ill suited to a man of 
his quiet, contemplative habits, and he complained of his 
friend for placing him in such an uncongenial situation. 
He soon withdrew again to monastic seclusion, and mani- 
fested extreme reluctance to accept of any ecclesiastical 
office, from a feeling that he was not pure enough to serve 


God at the altar. But his timid conscience being alarmed 
by representations that he was fleeing from duty, he con- 
sented to be ordained presbyter, and assisted his father in 
the discharge of his clerical functions. After the death of 
the old man, he was chosen bishop of his native place, and 
was much admired and respected for his eloquence and 
excellent character. But his love of contemplation and 
repose again led him to retire from the world and live 
among the monks. He emerged from his solitude occa- 
sionally to build up the Athanasian cause. There being 
no church belonging to that party in Constantinople, he 
preached in the house of one of his kinsmen. His earnest 
eloquence attracted crowds. The Arians, provoked by 
his success, broke into the house, pelted him with stones, 
and dispersed the meeting. When Theodosius came to 
the throne, he summoned him to preside over the churches 
at Constantinople, in place of the deposed Arian bishop. 
It has been already stated that he was placed in the epis- 
copal chair by a formidable array of military force; an 
immense majority of the inhabitants being Arians. For- 
tunately, he was less inclined to polemical controversy 
than most teachers of that period. He preached against 
the prevailing tendency to speculation, and combatted the 
idea fast gaining ground that soundness in doctrine was of 
more consequence than the practical performance of reli- 
gious duties. He said knowledge of divine things was not 
an end to be attained in this present life ; it was to be used 
merely as a means of becoming holy, in order to be capable 
of full reception of the truth in the world to come. He 
bore dislike with humility, and sometimes disarmed his 
most bitter opponents by meekness. Yet even he approved 
of the severe edicts of Theodosius against heretics. 

The dissatisfaction excited by his appointment, and 
questions which arose concerning its validity, induced him 
to ask liberty to resign his responsible and onerous office, 
to men who cared more for earthly honours and advan- 
tages. He delivered a farewell discourse before an assem- 
bly of the clergy, in which " he dealt out many a hard 


truth against the worldly-minded bishops." Worn 
with perpetual feuds in the churches, he retired to the 
quiet of private life, amid the brooks and fcreea of his 

native town. He was then ol«l and bald, his frame en- 
feebled, and his face furrowed by inward and outward 
struggles, and by the severe austerities he practised. But 

still the conflict with nature continued. The presence of 
women troubled him, and alarmed his conscience. Ik- 
allowed no repose to his aged body. He slept on a hard 
mat, with a sackcloth covering. He wore one thin tunic, 
went barefoot, and allowed himself no fire. He fasted and 
prayed, and devoted himself to the composition of poetry 
in Greek, which, from its difficulty, he considered a pen- 
ance. In these devotional poems, the praises of virginity 
are rung through all manner of changes, and Christ is re- 
presented as giving it the highest place of honour at his 
right hand. This sensitive and religious soul lingered in 
the body ninety years. His writings give a melancholy 
picture of the clerical temper of his times; especially as 
manifested in councils. 

Jerome. — Jerome was born in Dalmatia, now a southern 
province of Austria. The precise date of his birth is un- 
known, but it was not far from three hundred and forty. 
His parents, who were in prosperous worldly circum- 
stances, sent him to Home to complete his education, 
where he pursued with avidity the study of Greek and 
Latin literature and philosophy. The great capital abounded 
with temptations, and according to his own account, he fell 
into some habits of dissipation, from which, however, he 
soon emerged. The tombs of the martyrs, and the ca- 
tacombs where Christians were accustomed to meet for 
worship, in their days of obscurity and peril, made a deep 
impression on his mind. He became devout, and was 
baptized. After he left Rome, he travelled on the borders 
of the Rhine, where he became acquainted with many 
Christian preachers, and transcribed some commentaries on 
the Hebrew Scriptures, and other polemical works. He 


visited several countries of Western Asia, and at Antioch 
studied with the learned Appollinaris. In that city, when 
about thirty-four years of age, he had a very dangerous 
illness, from which he recovered in a state of religious en- 
thusiasm, which strongly inclined him to become a hermit. 
He retired to the Desert of Chalcis, between Antioch and 
the river Euphrates. There he passed four years in soli- 
tude, supporting himself by the labour of his own hands, 
reading, and meditating upon religious books, fasting, 
watching, and in various ways tormenting himself, to 
atone for youthful sins. In this state of mind, his con- 
science reproached him for the time he had bestowed on 
Pagan literature; in which, however, he still delighted. 
He says: "To subdue the flesh, I became scholar to a 
monk, who had been a Jew, to learn of him the Hebrew 
language. I, who had so diligently studied the copious 
flowing eloquence of Cicero, and the smoothness of Pliny, 
had now to inure myself to the hissing and broken-winded 
words of the Hebrew." If at times he yielded to the 
temptation of reading Cicero, he endeavoured to atone for 
it by rigid fasts. If Plato enticed him, he deprived him- 
self of sleep, as a penance. He says : " When I called 
home my thoughts, and returned to the Hebrew Prophets, 
their style appeared to me rude and negligent. Blind that 
I was, I ventured to accuse the light!" During this con- 
flict between conscience and his mental predilections, he 
states that he had a vision of Christ coming to judgment. 
An awful voice demanded, "Who art thou?" With 
trembling accents, Jerome replied: "I am a Christian." 
"It is false," rejoined the voice. " Thou art a Ciceronian, 
and no Christian. Where the treasure is there will the 
heart be also." He was then severely scourged by the at- 
tendant angels ; and while suffering under their blows, he 
made a solemn vow never again to read a Pagan book. 
He was the first of the Fathers, after Origen, who con- 
sidered it worth while to undertake the great labour of 
understanding Hebrew. 

Monastic asceticism became the ruling passion of Je- 


rome's life. Two of his friends, who went into the same 
desert, died of the tortures they inflicted on themselves, 
and he also was often on the brink of the grave. Theo- 
logical disputations in the church at last drew him forth 
from his retreat. He went to Antioch, and consented to 
be ordained presbyter, with the express stipulation that he 
should not be required to perform regularly the duties of 
his office. He soon after visited Constantinople, where he 
formed an intimacy with Gregory of JSazianzen, and occu- 
pied himself with various translations in the service of the 
church. Thence he went to Rome, where his learning and 
zeal commended him to Damasus the archbishop, who 
employed him in many important affairs. At his urgent 
intreaty, he undertook a laborious revision and comparison 
of various manuscripts of the Hebrew Scriptures, and the 
Christian Gospels, which in the course of much copying, 
had fallen into a good deal of confusion. At the same time 
he devoted himself to preaching zealously in favour of a 
life of celibacy and contemplation. He became a kind of 
confessor and guide to noble Roman ladies, directed their 
religious studies, and supervised their conduct. Many 
rich widows gave all their wealth to the church, and some 
deserted young families to devote themselves to a life of 
celibacy and religious contemplation. Such influence over 
the wealthy and noble naturally excited the indignation 
of relatives, disappointed in their expectations of legacies, 
and of young patricians deprived of advantageous mar- 
riages with rich maidens. The boldness and severity of 
his preaching against the indolence and luxury of the 
clergy in Rome, likewise created many ecclesiastical ene- 
mies. He was the object of secret insinuations and open 
invectives, and was frequently insulted when he appeared 
in the street. For a good while, he firmly withstood the 
opposition by which he was surrounded ; but after the 
death of his powerful patron Damasus, he deemed it pru- 
dent to withdraw from Rome to Antioch. There he was 
soon after joined by some of the most zealous of his 
Roman converts to celibacy, both men and women. With 


them he made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and took up his 
residence in a monastery at Bethlehem, From this retreat 
he fulminated anathemas against various heretical sects. 
He prided himself on orthodox adherence to the established 
church, and his style of defending it was acrimonious in 
the extreme. His virulent attacks on the Pelagians so 
exasperated them, that they surrounded his monastery 
with an armed force, and he was obliged to hide himself 
two years. Soon after his return, his health declined 
under the continual pressure of toil and excitement He 
died at his monastery, in the year four hundred and 
twenty. He has always been venerated by ecclesiastics 
as one of the greatest lights of the ancient church. 

Ambrose. — Ambrose was son of the Governor of Gaul. 
He was sent to Rome in his boyhood, to receive the best 
education the city afforded. He began his career as a 
lawyer at Milan, where he soon acquired a brilliant repu- 
tation for forensic eloquence. He was afterward invested 
with consular power over the provinces of which Milan 
was the capital. When the Arian Bishop died, in three 
hundred and seventy-four, a violent dispute arose between 
Athanasians and Arians concerning the election of his 
successor. Ambrose, as magistrate, deemed it necessary 
to be present to prevent tumultuous proceedings. He 
addressed them in a speech intended to allay the excite- 
ment. In the midst of his remarks, a little child called 
out: "Ambrose, bishop!" Whether the child thought 
that every man who talked to a church full of people was 
a bishop, and felt a wayward impulse to proclaim that 
idea, or whether some one instructed him what to say, is 
uncertain ; but the exclamation was hailed as an oracle 
from heaven, and Ambrose was chosen bishop by accla- 
mation of the people, in which bishops of both parties 
joined. He tried to avoid the honour thus conferred upon 
him ; pleading that, though a Christian, he had never been 
baptized. Finding this did not avail, he escaped from 
Milan; but after travelling all night, he found, to his 
Vol. III.— 10 


great surprise, that be bad been going round in a circuit, 
and with the morning light had arrived at the city gates 
again. At last, he was obliged to yield to the express 
commands of the emperor, and was accordingly baptized 
and ordained bishop, at thirty-four years of age. He 
began by distributing all his property to the church and 
the poor, and devoting himself to theological studies. He 
espoused the orthodox side, and maintained it with rather 
a high hand. When Justina, mother of the young prince 
Valentinian, appointed an Arian bishop at Sirmium, he 
appointed an Athanasian bishop in his stead. When she 
demanded, in the name of the young emperor, at least one 
of the churches in Milan for Arian worship, he refused ; 
probably fearing that if one were granted, the demands 
would be increased. When it was urged that the emperor 
had power to determine all matters within the empire, and 
consequently the churches belonged to him, Ambrose 
replied: "A bishop can not alienate that which is dedi- 
cated to God." Justina attempted to take forcible posses- 
sion of one of the churches ; but the populace were in 
such an excited state, that the soldiers hesitated to make 
an onset. Ambrose was commanded to leave the city ; but 
he refused to obey. He preached a sermon in which he 
said sneeringly : " The emperor demands a church. What 
has he to do with the church of the heretics ?" He even 
ventured to compare the empress-mother with Jezebel. 
The people, impressed by his boldness, magnetized by his 
eloquence, and charmed with his noble and affable man- 
ners, were ready to sustain him in everything. They 
kept continual watch in the church day and night, to pre- 
vent the Arians from getting possession of it. To sustain 
their spirits, Ambrose introduced a custom long practised 
in the Eastern churches, of choirs answering each other in 
responsive verses. This inspiring addition to the worship 
excited great enthusiasm. The form of music he then 
introduced is still used in the churches of Milan, under 
the name of Ambrosian Chants, characterized by majestic 
simplicity and fulness of harmony. 


Ambrose raised the sacerdotal character to a degree of 
dignity and importance previously unknown. His power 
over the violent and despotic Theodosius has been already 
mentioned. When the young emperor Yalentinian was 
urged to have an interview with him, during the contest 
for the possession of one of the churches, he said to the 
officers who recommended it: "If I were to follow your 
advice, his eloquence would induce you to lay me bound 
hand and foot before his throne." He was the adviser and 
guide of several sovereigns, though he never sought to gain 
their favour, or avoid their displeasure. Difficult negotia- 
tions were entrusted to him, and during the frequent revo- 
lutions and disturbances which occurred, the vanquished 
and oppressed always found in him a powerful protector. 
His administration was marked by increasing grandeur in 
the forms of public worship, and by zealous efforts in favour 
o£ celibacy in both sexes. He wrote three books in praise 
of virginity, which he dedicated to his sister. 

When he was fifty-seven years old, he had a violent 
attack of illness, during which Christ appeared to him in 
person, and addressed him with consoling words. The 
Bishop of Vercelli, who attended upon him, having gone 
to sleep, was waked by an angel, who said : "Arise quick- 
ly ! for he is about to depart." He hastened to the bed, 
where he found Ambrose kneeling at prayer, and had but 
just time to administer the sacrament before he expired. 
Some who were present affirmed that they saw his soul 
ascend to heaven, borne in the arms of angels. 

Chrysostom. — John Chrysostom was the son of a Gene- 
ral in the Eoman army, who died soon after his birth, in 
the year three hundred and forty-four. His young mother, 
Anthusa, who was a very devout Christian, withdrew from 
society, and devoted herself entirely to the memory of her 
husband, and the education of her son. In boyhood, he 
was remarkable for a serious earnestness of mind, and love 
of solitude. He studied eloquence with the famous orator 
Libanius, who said he should like to see him his successor 


in the school, if the Christians had not stolen him. At the 
age of twenty, he was already a celebrated pleader at the 
bar. But the corrupt practices then prevalent disgusted 
him, and the religious impressions of childhood deepened 
more and more, until his fame as a lawyer became hateful 
to him, and he resolved to be a hermit. His mother tried 
hard to dissuade him, saying: "Make me not a second 
time a widow, I intreat thee. Awaken not again my slum- 
bering sorrows. Wait at least for my death. Perhaps I 
shall depart before long. When thou hast laid me in the 
earth, and united my bones with those of thy father, then 
travel wherever thou wilt; even beyond the sea. But as 
long as I live, endure to dwell in my house, and offend 
not God by afflicting thy mother, who, whatever may be 
her faults, is at least guiltless toward thee." Her tears so 
touched his heart, that he was turned aside from his pur- 
pose. During her life-time, he lived in private apartments 
of her house, where her watchful love supplied him with 
everything, that his mind might not be distracted from 
religious pursuits. He studied the Scriptures and the 
Fathers diligently, prepared himself for the ministry, and 
became a reader in the church. Before he was thirty years 
old, his mother being dead, he joined a company of monks, 
who dwelt on the mountains in the vicinity of Antioch, 
He was greatly charmed with their mode of life, and re- 
mained with them four years. In search of more complete 
seclusion, he retired to a solitary cave, where he committed 
all the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures to memory. For 
two years, he did not lie down. Wakefulness and other 
forms of severe penance, brought on a dangerous ill- 
ness, which compelled him to return to Antioch. After 
his recovery, he was ordained presbyter, and at the mo- 
ment of consecration it is said a white dove descended on 
his head, which was regarded as a sign of divine inspiration. 
His eloquent preaching converted many Jews, Pagans, and 
heretics. He became so celebrated, that in three hundred 
ninety -seven, he was elected Archbishop of Constantinople. 
But such was his popularity at Antioch, that the emperor 


Arcadius, son of Theodosius, caused him to be secretly 
conveyed away, before the citizens had time to interfere. 
He gave orders that all the ecclesiastical and civil digni- 
taries should go out six miles to meet him, and escort 
him into the city. His predecessor had maintained a sys- 
tem of luxurious hospitality at the episcopal palace ; but 
John Chrysostom preferred a plain style of living, that he 
might be enabled to found hospitals, and relieve the indi- 
gent. He was so liberal in his charities, that he was pro- 
verbially called John the Alms-giver. He devoted much 
of his time to personal attendance on the poor and suffer- 
ing. He sent missionaries to the Goths and the Scythians, 
to Persia and Palestine. In him the oppressed always 
found a protector, the sinner a sympathizing friend. He 
was accustomed to say : " With the Devil alone we have 
nothing in common ; with every man we have much that 
is in common." He was bold, and even reckless, in re- 
buking* hypocrisy and injustice, especially in high places. 
If there was controversy between the powerful and the 
lowly, his generous sympathies were always on the poor 
man's side. He required very strict morality in his clergy, 
and deposed several bishops for misconduct. He had a 
strong conviction that men have free choice to become good 
or evil, to believe or disbelieve ; that the grace of God is 
always bestowed in proportion as men wish to receive it. 
Therefore, though ready to accept repentance, he was not 
prone to palliate wrong. Hence, his preaching was of a 
very practical, searching character, and his denunciation 
of sin and sinners was sometimes very severe. In one of 
his sermons, he asked the people of Constantinople : " How 
many think you will be saved in this city ? What I am 
going to say will terrify you ; but yet I must speak it. Of 
so many thousands, there will hardly be one hundred saved ; 
and I doubt even of those." He was always so much in 
earnest in what he said, and his style of eloquence was so 
lively and dramatic, that people deserted the theatres to 
hear him thunder from the pulpit of Santa Sophia. It had 
become very much the custom to applaud preachers, as 
Vol. III.— 10* 


well as orators, and the vanity of many was gratified "by 
such demonstrations; but when he was interrnpted by ac- 
clamations, he was accustomed to say, with serious indig- 
nation: " The place you sit in is no fcheatre; nor are you 
gazing upon actors." He showed neither fear nor favour 
in his rebukes. In his peculiarly bold, straight -forward 
manner, he bore public testimony against the extravagance 
of the empress Eudoxia, the profligacy of her court, and 
the ambition of ecclesiastics. This made him very popular 
among the people, but rendered him odious to the empress 
and her courtiers, whose rapacious avarice was often de- 
feated by his zealous efforts to protect the property of 
widows and orphans. The worldly-minded among the 
clergy disliked his strict regulations, his simple mode of 
living, and his scorching rebukes to those who sought pre- 
ferment in the church for the sake of honour or gain. From 
these causes there grew up a party extremely hostile to 
this truly noble and religious man ; and they waited only 
for some occasion that would serve as a pretext to injure 
him. Certain monks r who had been excommunicated by 
Theophilus, Bishop of Alexandria, on account of their 
attachment to the tenets of Origen, fled to Constantinople. 
Chrysostom, always- ready to help the destitute, supplied 
the strangers with a comfortable abode, and wrote to 
Theophilus beseeching him to pardon them. Instead of 
complying with his humane request T the haughty prelate 
sent messengers to Constantinople to accuse them. The 
monks begged the protection of the empress, who placed 
great reliance on the blessings and prayers of such devo- 
tees. A tangled controversy grew out of it, in which 
Chrysostom was involved. Theophilus, whose character 
was in every respect opposite, became his bitter enemy. 
By various artifices, he contrived to have a synod sum- 
moned at Chalcedon, to try Chrysostom. Because he took 
part with the excommunicated monks, they accused him 
of favouring the tenets of Origen, of acting contrary to 
ecclesiastical rules in receiving those whom a brother 
bishop had excommunicated, of being passionate in his 


expressions, and meanly inhospitable in his style of living. 
What they called passionate expressions doubtless origi- 
nated in the exceeding sincerity of the man. On all great 
occasions, he was calm and self-possessed, and he bore 
personal injuries with the utmost patience ; but when he 
witnessed oppression or hypocrisy, his nature was such 
that he could not refrain from an honest outburst of vehe- 
ment indignation. Being summoned to appear before the 
synod, he professed his readiness to have his conduct 
examined by them, or by any other assembly in the world ; 
but he required that four of his personal enemies should 
be excluded from the number of his judges. This reason- 
able request was not granted; his non-appearance was 
construed into a confession of guilt, and he was formally 
deposed. Chrysostom at first resolved to remain with the 
flock whom he believed God had intrusted to his care; 
and they, on their part, surrounded his house and the 
church, to prevent his being carried away. Meanwhile, 
he addressed to them one of his impassioned discourses, 
which wrought up their zealous affection to the highest 
pitch. Finding there was danger of bloodshed in his cause, 
he stole privately away, gave himself up, and was con- 
veyed into exile. His people received the tidings with a 
loud outburst of passionate lamentation. They wept bit- 
terly ; saying: " It is better that the sun should not shine, 
than that John Chrysostom should not preach to us." A 
few days after his departure, a violent shock of earthquake 
was felt at Constantinople; a circumstance then univer- 
sally regarded as a token of God's displeasure. When the 
empress felt her bed rock under her, she started up with 
intense terror, and falling at the feet of the emperor be- 
sought him to avert the wrath of Heaven by recalling John 
Chrysostom. The startling event had been construed in 
the same way by the populace ; and early the next morn- 
ing they surrounded the palace, clamouring for the return 
of their good bishop. Accordingly, messengers were sent 
to bring him. The whole population, men, women, and 
children, went out miles to meet him, and escorted him 


home with waving torches and hymns of thanksgiving. 
About two months after, a magnificent silver statue of 
the empress was erected in front of the palace, accompanied 
with festivities resembling the old Pagan ceremonies. The 
cathedral of Santa Sophia being near by, the meeting for 
worship was disturbed by the noise ; and Chrysostom in 
his sermon inveighed against such heathenish practices. 
The empress, being informed of it, became exasperated, 
and again leagued with his enemies. In consequence of 
which, be began a discourse by saying: "Again is Hero- 
dias angry ; again she demands the head of John." Thence- 
forth, she became his irreconcilable enemy. Being zeal- 
ously assisted by the machinations of hostile bishops, and 
having unlimited influence over her husband, the emperor 
Arcadius, Chrysostom was again sentenced to banishment. 
Soldiers were sent to seize him, and found him in the 
cathedral, celebrating the solemnities of Good Friday. 
They forced their way up to the altar, but the people were 
determined to protect their bishop. Many of them were 
wounded, others trodden under foot. The baptismal font 
was stained with blood ; the bread and wine of the eucha- 
rist were spilled on the ground, and the church vessels 
seized as plunder. Chrysostom, foreseeing the danger of 
popular insurrection, exonerated the emperor, and attri- 
buted the proceedings against him to the influence of 
hostile bishops. In the tumult, he found means to escape 
from his friends, surrendered himself to the officers, and 
was carried away in the night. At the moment of his de- 
parture, the church took fire and was burnt down. Some 
accused him of having kindled it, others suspected his ad- 
herents. The city continued in an uproar several days. 
Wherever the partisans of Chrysostom assembled, they 
were dispersed by soldiers. He was conveyed to Cucusus, 
a small desolate town, in a mountainous and savage dis- 
trict of Armenia, infested with robbers. There he had 
much to suffer from external causes, but his faith and 
courage never forsook him. He wrote letters full of con- 
solation to his friends at Constantinople, and continued to 


administer paternal advice to his beloved flock, who under 
his guidance continued to support zealously his missions 
in foreign lands. He was also the means of extensive 
good in the district where he was placed. He bore his 
wrongs with such cheerful resignation, and was so un- 
wearied in his efforts to benefit others, that he was even 
more admired in adversity, than he had ever been in pros- 
perity. Many churches expressed sympathy for him, and 
Innocent, Bishop of Rome, declared strongly in his favour. 
His enemies began to fear that he would again be brought 
back to Constantinople in triumph. To prevent it, they 
resolved to place him where he could not communicate 
with his friends. He was accordingly conveyed, in the 
year four hundred and seven, to Pityus, in a barbarian 
district, at the extreme verge of the Roman empire. The 
officers who had charge of him compelled him to perform 
the journey on foot, with his head uncovered, under a 
burning sun. His body, enfeebled by previous suffering, 
sunk under these hardships. They carried him to a chapel 
on the road, where he put on white garments, and received 
the communion. Immediately after, he uttered a brief 
prayer, which he had always been accustomed to repeat in 
seasons of trial: "Blessed be the Lord for all things." 
And with those words on his lips, he expired at sixty- 
three years of age. 

His memory was cherished with a degree of reverence 
and love seldom bestowed on mortals ; and few have ever 
deserved it as he did. For a long time, there existed a 
party at Constantinople called Johannites. They would 
never acknowledge the justice of the decree by which their 
beloved pastor was deposed. They refused to receive the 
communion at the hands of his successor, but held private 
meetings, where the rites were performed by clergymen 
who were friends to Chrysostom. Bishops and clergymen 
in other places protested against the injustice that had been 
done him. To prevent a wide-spread schism, his name 
was introduced into the public prayers of the church, and 
a general amnesty granted to all his adherents. Thirty- 


one years after his death, the Patriarch of Constantinople 
persuaded the emperor, Theodosius Second, to have his 
remains brought back and placed in the royal sepulchre. 
The emperor himself went as far as Chalcedon, to meet 
the procession, and bending over the coffin, implored 
Chrysostom in heaven to forgive the wrongs he had re- 
ceived from his royal parents, Arcadius and Eudoxia. 
The surviving Johannites, appeased by these public 
honours to the memory of their good bishop, at last con- 
sented to be again united with the ruling church. 

The surname of Chrysostom, signifying the Mouth of 
Gold, was early conferred on this celebrated Father of the 
church, on account of his rare eloquence. His writings 
are very voluminous. In his commentaries, he rejected 
the allegorical mode of interpretation, then so prevalent, 
and investigated the meaning of texts grammatically. 

Augustine. — Augustine was born in the year three 
hundred and fifty-four, of Koman parents, in Numidia, 
Africa. His mother, Monica, was a devout Christian at 
the time of his birth. Many years afterward, her husband, 
who was a passionate, arbitrary man, was converted, 
mainly by the uniform gentleness and meekness of her 
deportment. She tried to train her son very carefully; 
but he being naturally ardent and impetuous, did not 
easily submit to restraint. His parents sent him to Car- 
thage to complete his education ; but he disappointed their 
expectations, by want of application. His mind was quick, 
inquisitive, and acute ; but he liked a rambling mode of 
readings and was impatient of hard study. The intensity 
of his temperament also led him into irregularities, which 
became more and more attractive by indulgence. His 
father having economized closely to give him a liberal 
education, was so ambitious to have him become an elo- 
quent lawyer, that dangers to morality were a subordinate 
consideration. His godly mother wept and prayed, and 
gave him good advice; but even she was unwilling to 
entertain the idea of an early marriage ; " for she feared 


lest a wife should prove a clog and hindrance to his hopes." 
"At Carthage," he says, "there sang all round me in my 
ears a cauldron of unholy loves." " Among such as these, 
in that unsettled age of mine, I learned books of eloquence, 
wherein I desired to be eminent, out of a damnable and 
vain-glorious end, a joy in human vanity." Before he 
was nineteen years old, Cicero's Hortensius, containing 
exhortations to philosophy, came into his hand, and excited 
in him a strong desire to control his impulses. He says : 
" This book altered my affections, and turned my prayers 
to thee, O Lord ; and made me have other purposes and 
desires. Every vain hope at once became worthless to me. 
I longed with an incredibly burning desire for an immor- 
tality of wisdom, and began to arise that I might return 
to thee. How did I burn then, O my God, how did I 
burn to remount from earthly things to thee ! For with 
thee is wisdom. But the love of wisdom is in Greek called 
philosophy, with which that book inflamed me. And as 
Apostolic Scripture was then unknown to me, I was de- 
lighted with that exhortation ; but only so far that I was 
thereby strongly roused and kindled, and inflamed to love, 
and seek, and obtain, and hold, and embrace, not this or 
that sect, but wisdom itself, wherever it could be found. 
Thus enkindled, this alone checked me, that the name of 
Christ was not in the book. For, according to thy mercy, 
O Lord, my tender heart devoutly drank in this name 
with my mother's milk, and deeply treasured it ; and what- 
soever was without that name, though never so learned, 
polished, or true, took not entire hold of me. I resolved 
then to bend my mind to the Holy Scriptures, that I might 
see what they were. But not as I now speak, did I feel 
when I turned to those Scriptures. They seemed to me 
unworthy to be compared with the stateliness of Cicero ; 
for my swelling pride shrunk from their lowliness, nor 
could my sharp wit pierce the interior thereof. I disdained 
to be a little one, and, swollen with pride, took myself to 
be a great one." 

In this craving, unsettled state of mind, he became ac- 


quainted with the Gnostic sect, called Manicheans. They 
alleged that Christians were terrified by various supersti- 
tions, while they appealed to reason only, and " required 
no one to believe, until the truth had been sifted and 
cleared." Allured by this promise, he was attracted to 
their meetings, which he zealously attended during nine 
years; his longing for truth was never satisfied, but he 
was always hoping "that something of great account, 
would be laid open." His father was dead, but his mother 
mourned bitterly over his heresy. He says : " My mother, 
thy faithful one, wept to thee for me, more than mothers 
weep for the bodily death of their children; and thou 
didst not despise her tears, Lord, when streaming down 
they watered the ground under her eyes in every place 
where she prayed." He records a dream, which was a 
source of great comfort to her. In her sleep, she seemed 
to be standing on a wooden rule, and a radiant youth 
came cheerfully toward her, and inquired why she wept 
so much. She replied: " Because I bewail my son's per- 
dition." The shining messenger smiled and answered : 
" Content thyself. Look ! dost thou not see that where 
thou art, there he is also ?" And when she looked, she 
saw Augustine standing by her, on the same rule. In tell- 
ing this story, he adds : " Whence was this, O thou Omni- 
potent Good, but that thine ears were turned toward her 

In her anxiety for him, she went to a learned bishop, 
and besought him to argue with her son, and bring him 
into the Catholic church. But he replied : " You tell me 
that the young man is puffed up with the novelty of that 
heresy, and perplexes unskilful persons with captious 
questions. Let him alone for a while. Only pray to God 
for him, and he will himself, by reading, find how great is 
the impiety of that error." When she continued to weep, 
and importune him still further, he became a little impa- 
tient, and said : "Go thy ways ; and God bless thee ! It 
is not possible that the son of so many tears can perish." 
These words she considered oracular, and received them "as 


if they had sounded from heaven." Both of them placed 
great reliance on dreams and visions. His mother sought 
to negotiate a marriage for him, and following her advice, 
he wooed and was promised to a girl, who was so young, 
that it was agreed to delay the wedding two years. His 
mother prayed earnestly to God to have some vision con- 
cerning this project. But she dreamed " only vain, fan- 
tastic things," such as were brought together by her own 
mind, occupied on the subject. Augustine says: " These 
she told me of, but slighted them. For she said she could 
discern between the revelations of God, and the dreams of 
her own soul, by a certain feeling, which she could not 
express in words." 

For some time, he taught rhetoric in Carthage, as a 
means of living. But, hoping for better arranged classes, 
he stole away from his loving mother, who would fain 
have detained him near her, and went to Eome. There 
he was visited by severe illness, to which he afterwards 
looked back with horror, at the thought of dying unbap- 
tized. He says : " I was going down to hell, carrying all 
the sins I had committed against thee, Lord, against 
myself and others, many and grievous, over and above 
that bond of original sin, whereby we all die in Adam. 
For thou hadst not then forgiven me in Christ any of these 
things ; nor had he abolished for me, by his cross, the en- 
mity I had incurred with thee by my sins. Had I parted 
hence then, whither had I gone but into fire and tor- 
ments ?" After his recovery, he still continued to attend 
the Manichean meetings, and became one of their Elect. 
But a teacher of rhetoric being wanted in Milan, he went 
thither. He says : "I came to Ambrose the bishop, known 
to the whole world as among the best of men, thy devout 
servant, Lord ; whose eloquent discourse did then plen- 
tifully dispense unto thy people the flour of thy wheat, the 
gladness of thy oil, and the sober inebriation of thy wine. 
That man of God received me as a father. Thenceforth, I 
began to love him ; not indeed at first as a teacher of 
truth, but as a person kind toward myself. I listened 
Vol. III.— 11 p 


diligently to his preaching, trying his eloquence, whether 
it answered the fame thereof. But though I took no pains 
to learn what he spake, but only to hear hoiu he spake, yet 
together with the words there entered into my mind 
thoughts which I could not refuse. While I opened my 
heart to admit how eloquently he spake, it also entered how 
truly he spake ; but this was by degrees." 

He gradually rejected the Manichean theories, but could 
not as yet receive the doctrines of the church. Some 
writings of the New Platonists came in his way, and made 
a strong impression on him. He says : " I therein read, 
not indeed in the very words, but to the very same pur- 
pose, that in the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos 
was with God, and the Logos was God, by whom all things 
were made." Elsewhere, he says he found God the Father 
and the Son in the theories of Platonists, but nothing con- 
cerning the Holy Spirit; confessing that he did not under- 
stand what they meant by their Third Principle, which 
they called The Soul of the World. His inquisitive mind, 
searching everywhere for truth, led him to seek the ac- 
quaintance of an aged Christian, named Simplician, who 
he thought was " likely to have acquired much experience 
in the ways of the Lord." When he told Simplician of 
the Platonic books, which had interested him so deeply, 
the pious old man congratulated him, that such books had 
fallen into his hands, instead of the writings of other 
philosophers ; acknowledging that " the Platonists, in many 
ways, prepared the mind for a belief in God and his Lo- 
gos." He then told him that the man who translated 
those books from the Greek was a friend of his, named 
Victorinus, who, after having been many years a celebrated 
Platonic teacher at Pome, became a Christian in his old 
age. Augustine gives the following account : " Victorinus 
was a learned man, skilled in liberal sciences, who had 
read and weighed many works of the philosophers. He 
was the instructor of many noble senators, who placed his 
statue in the Forum, as a public testimony to his excellent 
discharge of his office. In his old age, he studied the 


Scriptures diligently, and was wont to say to Simplician, 
1 1 am already a Christian.' But his friend always replied, 
1 That I will not believe, till I see you in the church of 
Christ;' to which the philosopher would answer, jestingly, 
4 Do walls then make a Christian?' At last, he said, 'Let 
us go to the church, I wish to be made a Christian.' The 
dignitaries of Kome gnashed their teeth." It was custom- 
ary to make profession of faith from an elevated place in 
the church, in sight and hearing of all the congregation. 
The presbyter inquired whether he would like to make 
his in a more private manner. He replied : " I have taught 
rhetoric and philosophy publicly ; how much more ought 
I to acknowledge Christianity publicly." All the people 
knew him ; and as he walked into the church, " there ran 
a low murmur through all the mouths of the rejoicing 
multitude: 'Victorinus! Victorinus!' Sudden was the 
burst of rapture when they saw him ; suddenly they were 
hushed, that they might hear him. He pronounced the 
true faith with an excellent boldness, and all* wished to 
draw him into their very heart." When the emperor 
Julian forbade Christians to teach from the classics, this 
aged man gave up the school, of which he had so long 
been the ornament. 

The account of his conversion excited Augustine to 
emulation. He began to study the writings of the Apostle 
Paul, and they had a powerful effect on him. A young 
Christian from Carthage told him wonderful stories of 
Anthony and other holy monks, in the deserts of Egypt ; 
and he had a longing to become as sanctified as they were. 
But his affectionate and ardent nature resisted the sugges- 
tion. He could not easily relinquish the idea of marriage. 
Ambrose, and nearly all the church Fathers of that period, 
zealously preached celibacy, as essential to holiness ; and 
they seemed to him to be sustained by the words of Paul : 
"He that is unmarried, thinketh of the things of the Lord, 
how he may please the Lord; but he that is married, 
careth for the things of this world, how he may please his 
wife." He describes himself as " soul-sick and tormented." 


" My Ancient mistresses still held me, and whispered softly, 

'Dost thou cast us off? and from that moment, shall wo 
be no more with thee for ever?' And I blushed exceed- 
ingly that I yet heard the muttering of those toys, and 
still hung in suspense." 

He had at that time a very dear friend, named Alypius, 
who had pursued the same studies, been attracted by the 
same Gnostic theories, and shared his interest in the writ- 
ings of Paul. To him Augustine generally poured forth 
all his thoughts and feelings ; but one day, when the con- 
flict was very sharp within him, he says : " Alypius, sit- 
ting close by my side, silently awaited the issue of my 
unwonted emotion ; and that I might pour it forth wholly, 
I rose and retired so far, that even his presence could not 
be a burthen to me. I cast myself down under a fig-tree, 
and giving vent to my tears, I cried out : ' How long, O 
Lord, how long ? Why not now ? Why should not this 
very hour put an end to my uncleanness ?' Thus was I 
speaking, and weeping in the bitter contrition of my heart, 
when I heard from a neighbouring house, a voice, as of a 
boy or girl, chanting, and oft repeating: 'Take up and 
read ! Take up and read !' Instantly my countenance 
changed. I began to think intently whether children were 
accustomed to sing such words, in any kind of play ; and 
I could not remember ever to have heard the like. So 
checking the torrent of my tears, I arose ; for I interpreted 
it to be no other than a command from God to open the 
book, and read the first chapter I found. Eagerly I re- 
turned to the place where Alypius was sitting ; for there 
had I laid the volume of the Apostle Paul, when I rose 
thence. I seized, and in silence read the first section on 
which my eyes fell : ' Not in rioting and drunkenness, not 
in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; 
but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not pro- 
vision for the flesh.' Instantly a serene light was infused 
into my soul, and all the darkness of doubt vanished away. 
With a calm countenance I made it known to Alypius. 
He looked, and saw that the following words were : ' Him 


that is weak in the faith, receive.' This he applied to 
himself. We went to my mother, and told her in order 
how it had all taken place. She leaped for joy, and 
triumphed, and blessed God, who had given her more than 
she had begged of Him by her pitiful and most sorrowful 
groanings. For thou, O Lord, hadst converted me unto 
thyself, so that I sought neither wife, nor any hope in this 
world ; standing on that rule of faith, where thou hadst 
shown me unto her in a vision, so many years before." 

Augustine had lived fifteen years with a woman to 
whom he was strongly attached, and she had given birth 
to a son, whom he had named Adcodatus. When arrange- 
ments were made for his marriage, he had parted from this 
woman with mutual tears, and she took a vow of perpetual 
celibacy. The boy was left with him to be educated, and 
seems always to have been an object of the tenderest affec- 
tion. When Augustine took the resolution to become a 
monk, he left his occupation as a teacher of rhetoric, and 
retired into the country with his friend Alypius, his son, 
and his mother. There they devoted themselves to prayer 
and study of the Scriptures, preparatory to baptism. When 
he was dangerously ill in boyhood, he had greatly desired 
to be baptized, and his mother had tried to accomplish it, 
but had been disappointed. Now it was a matter of re- 
joicing with them both that the rite, which would cleanse 
him from all his sins, had been so long delayed. Alypius 
and Adcodatus were to be baptized with him, and they 
spent their time together in reading and prayer. He calls 
his friend : " A most valiant tamer of the body ; so as with 
unwonted venture, to wear the frozen ground of Italy 
with his bare feet." Of his son he says : " In age he is 
the youngest of us all ; but his talents, if affection deceives 
me not, promise something great. He is truly chaste, 
waits on God, and keeps himself to Him only." His 
mother was a happy woman in those days. He says: 
" Of all of us did she so take care, as though she had been 
mother of us all ; so served us, as though she had been 
child to us all." The liveliness of their faith is indicated 
Vol. III.— 11* 


by the following incident, which be recorded yeara .-i IV r- 
ward: "When shall I recall .-ill that passed in those h 
days? Thou didst then afflict me with pain in my teeth; 
and when it had come to such a height that I could not 
speak, it entered my heart to desire all my friends present 
to pray for me to thee, God of all manner of health. I 
wrote this on wax, and gave it to them to read. So soon 
as with humble devotion we had bowed our knees, the 
pain went away. How went it away ? I was affrighted, 
O Lord, my God ; for from infancy, I had never expe- 
rienced the like." 

It was decided that the baptism should be administered 
by Ambrose, Bishop of Milan ; and thither they all went, 
accompanied by the godly mother. They arrived at an 
exciting time, when the empress had demanded a church 
for the Arians, § and when the people watched in the cathe- 
dral, night and day, cheered by the newly introduced 
Ambrosian Chants. To Augustine, in his tender and 
devout frame of mind, the effect was overpowering. He 
exclaims : " How did I weep, touched to the quick by the 
voices of thy sweetly-attuned church !" He was then 
thirty-three years old, and had acquired reputation for 
talent. The ceremony was made as impressive as possible. 
On that occasion the hymn called Te Deum was arranged 
for the church service : Ambrose and Augustine repeating 
the verses alternately, as they proceeded to the altar. 
Soon after this solemn scene, Augustine sold his estate, 
and gave most of the proceeds to the poor ; reserving only 
a very moderate income for himself and his good mother. 
On their way home, she was seized with a fever, and all 
knew that her end was approaching. She was calm and 
cheerful, and full of love toward her child, whom she 
praised that in all his life he had never spoken to her a 
harsh or unkind word. She said: "All my hopes in this 
world are now accomplished. I see thee the servant of 
God, despising all earthly happiness. Why should I wish 
to linger any longer here ?" Augustine says : " When 
she breathed her last, the boy Adcodatus burst out into a 


loud lament ; then, being checked by us all, he held his 
peace. I closed her eyes ; and there flowed withal a 
mighty sorrow into my heart, which was overflowing into 
tears. But the childish feeling in me, which through my 
heart's youthful voice was finding vent in weeping, was 
checked and silenced. "We thought it not fitting to 
solemnize that funeral with tearful lament and groanings ; 
for she was not altogether dead; of that we were certain, 
on the grounds of her good conversation, and her faith 
unfeigned. What then did so grievously pain me within ? 
It was the sudden wrench of that most sweet and dear 
custom of living together; that life rent asunder, as it 
were, which of hers and mine together had been made but 

Not long after, he was called to part with his beloved 
son. He says of him : "Excellently hadst thou made 
him, O Lord, my God, Creator of all ! He was not quite 
fifteen, yet in intellect he surpassed many grave and 
learned men. His talent struck awe into me. Him we 
joined with us, our cotemporary in grace, to be brought 
up in thy discipline ; and we were baptized, and uneasi- 
ness concerning our past lives vanished from us. Soon 
didst thou take his life from the earth. I remember him 
without anxiety; fearing nothing for his childhood., or 
youth, or his whole self." 

Not long after his baptism, Augustine was ordained 
Bishop of Hippo, a small town near Carthage. His ad- 
ministration was characterized by strict morality, hospi- 
tality, and benevolence to the poor. He often boldly 
remonstrated with the rich in behalf of their labourers and 
tenants. He would never receive any bequest to the 
church, if it injured the relatives of the donor; and he 
never used any means to urge a reluctant giver. A citi- 
zen of Hippo, who willed his estate to the church, after- 
ward sought to buy back the papers with a sum of money. 
Augustine sent back both the papers and the money, 
saying the church accepted only such offerings as were 
cheerfully given. Several situations of higher rank and 


greater income were offered to him, as a tribute to his 
intellectual ability, and upright character; but he pre- 
ferred to remain with the llock first intrusted to his care. 
When Hippo was besieged by the Vandals, thirty-five 
years after, he refused to leave his people in the midst of 
their dangers and afflictions. He died there during the 
siege, in his seventy-sixth year. 

He judged severely all non-conformity to the established 
church, and was constantly engaged in zealous controversy. 
Augustine though a more cultured man than Tertullian, 
had the same fiery character and tendency to excess. He 
adopted the doctrine that all human souls sinned in Adam, 
and that the inherent stain was physically transmitted by 
birth ; but he carried it out to an extreme result, which 
had not been previously suggested; for he declared that 
every infant who died without having Adam's sin washed 
away by the waters of baptism, must remain in hell to all 
eternity. His writings exercised a very powerful and 
lasting influence on the theology of Christianity. On 
account of his fervid temperament, and glowing piety, 
painters generally represent him with the symbol of a 
flaming heart. 


Some of the later Fathers retained the old idea, so 
much dwelt upon by Tertullian, that Angels fell in love 
with mortal women, and produced a family of imps. But 
Chrysostom, Cyril, and others, declared that instead of 
angeh of God, as written in the Septuagint, it ought to 
have been translated : " The sons of God came in unto the 
daughters of men, and they bare children to them." By 
sons of God, they understood descendants of Seth by 
Enos ; a family peculiarly favoured by Heaven, because 
they "first began to call upon the name of the Lord." 
The daughters of men were understood to be the descend- 
ants of Cain. The ideas concerning Pagan deities remained 
much the same as those entertained by the primitive 


church. Lactantius says : " Evil Spirits, being adjured by 
Christians in the name of God, retire from the bodies of 
men ; and being lashed by their words, as by scourges, 
confess themselves to be demons. They even tell their 
names, acknowledging that they are the same Spirits wor- 
shipped in the temples ; and this even in the presence of 
their own worshippers ; yet casting no reproach on religion, 
but on their own honour. It is not in their power to lie to 
God, in whose name they are adjured, or to the pious by 
whose voice they are tortured ; therefore, after many bowl- 
ings, they frequently cry out that they are scourged and 
burned, and are going out instantly." When Vigilantius 
protested against the honours paid to the bones of martyrs, 
Jerome attacked him violently. He bade him go into the 
churches of the martyrs where so many miracles were 
daily wrought, and he would be cleansed from the Evil 
Spirit which possessed him, and feel himself burnt, not by 
the wax candles which so much offended him, but by in- 
visible flames which would force the Demon that talked 
within him to confess himself the same that had personated 
Mercury or Bacchus, or some other of the false gods. 
When Martin, Bishop of Tours, was zealously employed 
demolishing temples, he declares that the Evil Spirits who 
had been worshipped in them, under such names as Jupiter 
and Apollo, often appeared to him, and tried to stop his 
operations ; but they had no power when he spoke to them 
in the name of Christ. Chrysostom, Gregory Bishop of 
Nyssa, and other Fathers, speak of the miraculous expul- 
sion of Devils as a thing of frequent occurrence. The 
possessed persons are described as falling on the ground, 
tearing their hair, groaning with an inarticulate voice, and 
foaming at the mouth. Their faces grew black, and their 
eyes distorted ; for "the Devil did not desist from strang- 
ling them." It is evident that the process of curing them 
was sometimes slow; for they often resorted to the churches 
as a kind of hospital. There a class of church officers, 
called Exorcists, took charge of them ; whose business it 
was to pray over them, to provide their food, to keep them 


employed in some innocent business for exercise, such as- 
Bweepingand dusting the church, to prevent the more vio- 
lent agitations of Satan, lest he should be tempted by their 
idleness to renew his attacks upon them." When they were 
in a sober state, those of them who had been baptized were 
allowed to partake of the Lord's Supper, which was thought 
to be very efficacious in warding off the paroxysms. 

Miraculous power was everywhere attributed to holy 
relics; a custom unknown to the Jews, but prevalent 
among Hindoos and Buddhists from very ancient times. 
Chrysostom was eloquent on this theme. He says : " Not 
only the bones of martyrs, but their urns and their tombs 
overflow with benedictions. Let us prostrate ourselves 
before their relics. Let us embrace their coffins. Since 
their bones possess such great power, these also may have 
some. Not only on the days of their festivals, but on all 
other days, let us fix ourselves to them, and intreat them 
to be our patrons." Elsewhere, he says: " We are not to 
suppose the bodies of martyrs are left without active force, 
like those of common men ; since a greater power than a 
human soul is superadded to them ; the power of the Holy 
Spirit, which, by working miracles in them, demonstrates 
the truth of the resurrection." "Gold never dispelled 
diseases, or warded off death ; but the bones of martyrs 
have done both." Basil says : " All who are in distress 
or difficulty fly for relief to the tombs of the martyrs ; and 
whosoever touches their relics acquires some share of their 
sanctity." Even the oil in the lamps, kept continually 
burning before their remains, was believed to possess a 
miraculous virtue. Jerome says many were cured of the 
bites of venomous animals by touching their wounds with 
it. Chrysostom testifies that he knew many cases where 
the application of it dispelled various diseases. Augustine 
says a virgin of the church in his own time was cured of 
a devil by it ; and that a young man, who was dead, was 
restored to life by being anointed with it. When one of 
his presbyters was accused of a misdemeanor, and he had 
no evidence but the parties themselves, he sent them to 


the sepulchre of Felix the martyr, to have it decided by 
his miraculous interposition ; as he says had been done to 
his knowledge in a case of theft at Milan. 

Bones believed to be the remains of Andrew, Luke, and 
Timothy, were brought from Palestine, and deposited in 
the magnificent Church of the Apostles, built on the banks 
of the Bosphorus, by Constantine the Great. Fifty years 
after, the ashes of Samuel, the Hebrew Judge and Prophet, 
were brought from his native land in a golden urn covered 
with a mantle of rich silk. All along the road, it was 
delivered by one bishop into the hands of another, so that 
a procession continually escorted it. The emperor Arca- 
dius went out from Constantinople, with a long train of 
illustrious clergy and senators, to receive the sacred deposit. 
The bones of Stephen, the first martyr, lay buried and 
unknown for nearly four hundred years. But Gamaliel, 
the learned Jewish Eabbi, by whom the Apostle Paul was 
instructed, appeared three times, in a dream, to a presbyter 
at Jerusalem, and told him where to find them. When 
they were dug up, the earth trembled all around, and a 
fragrance from them floated on the air, which cured, of 
various diseases, seventy-three of the spectators. A church 
was built on Mount Zion to receive the treasure thus mira- 
culously discovered. Some of these relics were conveyed 
to Hippo. Augustine relates many miracles performed by 
them. People were cured of gout, stone, and fistulas; 
the blind were restored to sight; and five persons were 
raised from the dead, Two of them were carried dead to 
the relics, and brought back alive ; two were restored by 
garments that had touched the relics ; and the fifth by oil 
from the lamps. Augustine concludes the enumeration 
with an apology for telling so few miracles, out of the 
great number publicly known and recorded. He says 
that merely the certified cures, without any of the other 
miracles, would fill a great number of volumes. Chrysos- 
tom says, as soon as the coffin of the martyr Babylas was 
placed in the chapel provided for it, the oracle of Apollo 
in the temple near by was struck dumb at once ; so that 


when the emperor Julian went to consult it, the only 
answer he could get from Apollo was that the dead man 
would not allow him to speak any longer. And when 
Julian commanded the bones to be carried back to Antioch, 
the temple and statue of Apollo were struck by lightning, 
and consumed at the request of Babylas. 

In such a state of feeling, the possession of celebrated 
relics not only rendered a church attractive, but greatly 
increased its revenue. In Jerome's time, they were re- 
garded as a necessary appendage to every place of worship. 
They became such an important article of commerce, that 
the graves were extensively robbed ; and Theodosius the 
Great found it necessary to pass a law forbidding men to 
disturb the bones of saints. The people of Milan intreated 
Ambrose to procure some relics for their church ; and he 
was very desirous to gratify them. With this thought 
dwelling on his mind, he went to pray in the church of the 
martyrs, Nabor and Felix; and as he knelt, a kind of 
trance, which was not exactly sleep, fell upon him. In a 
vision, he beheld two young men of incomparable beauty, 
clothed in .white garments; and the Apostles Peter and 
Paul were with them. It was revealed to him that the 
two young men were martyrs, whose bodies lay near the 
spot where he was kneeling. He convoked his clergy, and 
ordered search to be made. As they approached the spot 
indicated, a man possessed by a devil was seized with a 
sudden paroxysm ; the devil being conscious of the pres- 
ence of holy remains. Two skeletons of gigantic size were 
found, with the heads separated from the necks. With 
them was buried a writing, which stated that they were 
twin brothers, named Gervasius and Protasius, who were 
beheaded for Christianity, in the reign of Nero. Some 
good man had buried their bodies in his garden, where 
they remained undiscovered till thus miraculously revealed 
to the Bishop of Milan. Three hundred years had passed 
since the persecution by Nero ; but though they had been 
buried so long, there was a quantity of blood in the tomb. 
Ambrose ordered them to be placed under the altar in his 


church. Alluding to the Lord's Supper which was laid on 
the altar, and called a sacrifice, he said : " Let the victims 
be borne in triumph to the place where Christ is the sacri- 
fice. Upo7i the altar is he who suffered for all ; and under 
the altar let them repose, who were redeemed by his suf- 
fering." Accordingly, the day after the bodies were found, 
they were carried in solemn procession to the church. It 
is recorded that many who were afflicted with diseases, or 
possessed by devils, crowded round the bier, and if they 
could but touch the drapery that covered it, they were 
immediately cured, and the devils which were cast out 
reluctantly confessed the power to which they had been 
compelled to submit. Augustine says: "I was then at 
Milan, and I knew the miracles. Not only they who were 
vexed with unclean Spirits were cured, (the devils confess- 
ing themselves,) but a certain man who had for many years 
been blind, a well-known citizen, hearing the confused joy 
of the people, and learning the cause, sprang forth, desiring 
his guide to lead him thither. When he arrived, he begged 
to be allowed to touch the bier with his handkerchief; 
which, when he had done, and put the handkerchief to his 
eyes, they were forthwith opened. He made a vow that 
for his whole life he would serve in that church. We re- 
joiced that he had recovered his sight, and when we went 
from Milan, we left him serving." Ambrose, in a sermon 
before a large audience, spoke thus concerning the miracle : 
" The Arians deny that the blind man received sight; but 
he does not deny that he is cured. He says, I have ceased 
to be blind ; and he proves it by facts. He is a well-known 
man, formerly employed in public services, a butcher by 
the name of Severus. He proclaims publicly that when 
he touched the hem of the garment, wherewith the sacred 
remains of the martyr are covered, his sight was restored ; 
and he calls those, by whose benevolence he was formerly 
supported, to testify to the fact." In the crowded church, 
Ambrose devoutly returned thanks for the wonderful vision 
which had been sent to inform him concerning the grave 
of these holy martyrs. They were reverently placed under 
Vol. III.— 12 


the altar, and the church was consecrated under the name 
of Gervasius and Protasius. 

All these wonderful circumstances are recorded by Am- 
brose himself, by his secretary Paulinus, and by Augustine. 
The Arians, among whom were the young emperor, Valen- 
tinian Second, and his mother Justin a, were sceptical con- 
cerning both the vision and the miracle. They accused 
Ambrose of having hired the blind man to perform a part. 
But the people believed that a man so signally favoured 
by Heaven as their bishop had been, must be divinely in- 
spired to know the truth. This incident so much strength- 
ened the party over which Ambrose presided, that the 
imperial family thought it best to desist from any further 
efforts to obtain toleration for Arians. 

Grecians and Eomans had copied the ancient and almost 
universal custom of invoking the spirits of departed ances- 
tors, in cases of emergency, or when about to commence a 
voyage, or a journey, or any other great undertaking. This 
custom was transferred to the spiritual ancestors of the 
Christian church. Basil, while commemorating the Feast 
of the Forty Martyrs, thus addressed their spirits : " ye 
common guardians of the human race, cooperators in our 
prayers, most powerful messengers, stars of the world, and 
flowers of churches, let us join our prayers with yours." 
Ephrem of Edessa says: "I intreat you, holy martyrs, 
who have suffered so much for the Lord, that you would 
intercede for us with Him, that he may bestow his grace 
upon us." Jerome, speaking of the souls of martyrs, says : 
" They always follow the Lamb wheresoever he goes ; for- 
asmuch, therefore, as the Lamb is present every wh*e re, we 
ought to believe that they also, who are with the Lamb, 
are present everywhere." In the latter part of the sixth 
century, the custom of invoking martyrs became a formal 
regulation of the church. 

Magnificent churches were built to martyrs, and became 
the general resort of the diseased and the afflicted. In the 
temples of iEsculapius it had been customary for those 
who sought aid from the god to lie prostrate in his temple, 


waiting for dreams or visions to inform them how t they 
could be cured; and iEsculapius was often supposed to 
appear and prescribe the suitable remedies. Those who 
received benefit hung up in his temple the image of a hand 
or foot that had been healed, accompanied by a tablet de- 
scribing the cure. The same customs were transferred to 
the churches of the martyrs. Invalids waited there for 
dreams or visions, and many accounts are given concerning 
the visible appearance of the departed saints. Theodoret, 
a church historian and a Syrian bishop, in four hundred 
and twenty-three, says : " We frequently offer up hymns 
each day to the Lord in the churches of the martyrs. We 
pray their spirits to continue us in health ; when sick, we 
beg them to cure us ; when we undertake a journey, we 
beseech them to be our guides and protectors ; and when 
we return safely, we go to their churches to return thanks 
to them. That those who pray to them, with faith and 
sincerity, obtain what they ask, is testified by the great 
number of offerings made to them in consequence of ben- 
efits received. Some offer the images of eyes, some of 
feet, some of hands, made of gold or silver, which the 
Lord accepts, though but of little value; measuring the 
gifts by the ability of the giver. These monuments pro- 
claim the power of the dead to cure distempers ; and this 
power demonstrates their God to be the true God." 

There were some who protested against these doctrines 
and customs. Yigilantius of Gaul wrote against the ex- 
ceeding reverence paid to martyrs and their relics, and he 
influenced many minds. He doubted the miracles said to 
be performed at their tombs, and rejected the idea of their 
intercession in heaven. The practice of keeping lamps 
burning before the shrines of martyrs he considered a copy 
of the custom in Pagan temples. This opposition greatly 
exasperated Jerome, who attacked him in his violent way, 
comparing him to all sorts of dragons, scorpions, and 
beasts of prey. He brings forward the sanction of great 
names as an invulnerable argument. He says: " Was the 
emperor Constantine sacrilegious, who transported the 


relics of Andrew, Luke, and Timothy, to Constantinople ? 
At whose presence the devils howl and are confounded ; 
such devils as inhabit the wretched Vigilantius. Was the 
emperor Arcadius impious, who removed the bones of the 
holy Samuel to Thrace ? Were all the bishops sacrilegi- 
ous, who enshrined those precious remains in a vessel of 
gold, covered with silk ? Were all the people sacrilegious, 
who went to meet it, and received it as if it were the living 
prophet himself? Is the Bishop of Home impious, who 
offers sacrifice [the eucharist] on the altar, under which 
are the venerable bones of Peter and Paul ? Vigilantius 
would call it their vile dust. Are bishops of all the cities 
of the world impious, who reverence relics, around which 
the souls of martyrs are constantly hovering, to hear the 
prayers of the suppliant?" " Answer me, how comes it to 
pass that in this vile dust and ashes of the martyrs there is 
so great a manifestation of signs and wonders ? Thou most 
wretched of mortals ! I see what thou art so grieved at, so 
afraid of. The Evil Spirit within thee, which compels thee 
to write thus, has often been tortured, and is now tortured, 
by this vile dust." But though Jerome fully believed that 
the souls of departed saints received the prayers of mortals, 
he totally denied that they were worshipped by the church. 
He says: " We do not adore martyrs, or angels, or cheru- 
bim, or seraphim ; lest we should serve the creature more 
than the Creator, who is blessed for evermore. But we 
honour the relics of the martyrs, that our minds may be 
raised to Him, whose martyrs they are." Augustine like- 
wise indignantly repelled the same charge, brought by his 
old friends the Manicheans. He says : " We offer sacrifice 
to no martyr, nor to the soul of any saint, nor to any angel. 
We worship God only." The practice of bringing bones 
and ashes from the graves, and depositing them in places 
of worship, was more shocking to Pagans than any other 
peculiarity of the Christians ; for in all the ancient reli- 
gions, contact with dead bodies was considered polluting, 
and priests purified themselves before they performed wor- 
ship, if even their garments had touched a bone. Those 


who became Christians conquered this feeling by their be- 
lief that the bodies of martyrs had been made sanctified 
temples of the Holy Ghost, and would become so again at 
the resurrection. 

Hindoos, from very ancient times, were accustomed to 
make pilgrimages from far and near to their Holy City, 
Benares ; also to the tombs of celebrated saints, who had 
become one with God during their lifetime in this world ; 
and to temples where the relics of Crishna, and other in- 
carnated gods, were deposited. Buddhists made similar 
pilgrimages to the Holy Mountain, where was the last foot- 
print of Bouddha, when he ascended to the celestial world ; 
to other Holy Mountains, consecrated by the prayers and 
miracles of his disciples ; and to shrines containing relics 
of those sanctified men ; of which the most celebrated was 
the one which possessed a tooth of Bouddha in a golden 
box set with gems by which many miracles were said to 
be performed. This custom from the East also passed into 
Christianity. Helena, and her son, Constantine the Great, 
accompanied the bishop Eusebius on a pilgrimage to Jeru- 
salem, and caused churches and chapels to be erected 
wherever Christ and his Apostles were said to have trod- 
den. The True Cross then dug up on Mount Calvary was 
preserved in a silver shrine, and attracted an immense 
multitude of pilgrims, to whom the Bishop of Jerusalem 
sold small portions of the cross set in gold and gems. These 
fragments obtained such celebrity for curing diseases, and 
protecting people from danger, that all the timber in the 
cathedral could not have supplied the demand. But the 
sacred wood was declared to have the miraculous power 
of perpetual growth ; so that it never diminished. The 
empress Eudoxia, wife of Theodosius the Younger, made a 
pilgrimage to Jerusalem in great pomp, and brought back 
to Constantinople the right arm of Stephen the martyr, the 
chains of the Apostle Peter, and a portrait of the Virgin 
Mary, painted by Luke the Evangelist. Paula, a wealthy 
patrician widow in Rome, and her daughter Eustochium, 
were converted by the preaching of Jerome, and soon after, 
Vol. III.— 12* 


with a train of devout maidens, they went to Antioeh, to 
join him and other devotees, on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. 
They afterward went to Egypt, to visit all the spots said 
to be consecrated by the footsteps of Joseph and Mary. 
Augustine says the whole world flocked to Bethlehem, to 
sec the place of Christ's nativity ; and that pilgrimages to 
Arabia were undertaken, to look at the dunghill on which 
Job sat. From all these places relics were brought, and 
became lucrative sources of revenue not only to churches, 
but to cities, on account of the great concourse of strangers 
they attracted. The relics were generally deposited under 
the altars, or aisles, of churches ; and the fame of the mira- 
cles wrought by them brought crowds of suppliants, who 
might be seen at all times kneeling before the altar, or 
prostrate in the aisles, kissing the pavement, imploring re- 
lief from disease, or lameness, praying for children, for the 
welfare of distant relatives, and for all manner of temporal 
blessings. Those who received benefit, gave money to the 
church, hung commemorative tablets on the walls, or pre- 
sented a picture or image of the martyr, to whom they 
wished to express gratitude ; as Buddhists and Grecians 
had from time immemorial been accustomed to consecrate 
a statue or a painting to their temples, on similar occasions. 

Jerusalem, above all other places, attracted a devout 
multitude. Yet in the presence of perpetual worship and 
miracles, the Holy City was distinguished for the grossest 
licentiousness, robbery, theft, poisoning, and other forms 
of murder. Such is the testimony of Jerome, who for 
several years resided in the neighbouring village of Beth- 
lehem. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, who passed through 
Jerusalem on a visit to the Arabian churches, in the year 
three hundred eighty, was so shocked by the violence and 
sensuality he witnessed, that he sent abroad a letter ear- 
nestly dissuading Christians from congregating there; and 
especially exhorting women not to undertake a pilgrimage 
which would expose them to much insult and scandal, and 
render them liable to see and hear many obscene things. 

The belief in the marvellous does not seem to have di- 


minished with the lapse of centuries. Arnobius, who lived 
in the fourth century, tells us: "In these days, Christ 
sometimes appears to just and holy men; not in vain 
dreams, but in his pure and simple form. The mention of 
his name puts Evil Spirits to flight, strikes their oracles 
dumb, deprives their soothsayers of the power of answer- 
ing, and frustrates the efforts of arrogant magicians. Not 
because they have an aversion to his name, as the heathen 
pretend, but by the efficacy of his superior power." Many 
miracles are recorded of Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. It is 
said that a woman afflicted with paralysis was carried to 
him in her bed, and as soon as she touched his garments, 
she recovered her health. An obstinate heretic, who used 
to go and hear him merely for the sake of refuting his ar- 
guments, was converted by seeing an angel at his side, 
prompting the words he uttered. One day, when Ambrose 
went to the Governor's house, to beg mercy for a poor 
wretch condemned to die, he was refused admittance. He 
turned away, saying: " Thou thyself shalt fly to the church 
for refuge, and shall not be able to enter." A short time 
after, the Governor being pursued by enemies, did fly to 
the church for protection, and though the doors stood wide 
open, he could not find his way in, but wandered about, 
in strange bewilderment, till he was killed. Martin, 
Bishop of Tours, cotemporary with Ambrose, was the 
greatest of all the wonder-workers of his time. The mere 
touch of his garments cured the most inveterate diseases ; 
and it is recorded that he restored three dead men to life. 
He obtained such extensive reputation for casting out 
devils, that he was appointed to the office of exorcist in 
the church. Epiphanius, who was Bishop of Constantia, 
in the latter part of the fourth century, says: "For the 
conviction of unbelievers, whole fountains, and even rivers, 
are at the present day turned into wine. At Cibyra, a 
town of Caria, there is a fountain, which annually under- 
goes this change, at the very hour when, at the bidding of 
Christ, the attendants at the marriage feast in Cana of 
Galilee drew wine from the water vessels, and presented it 


to the president of the feast. Another fountain of the same 
kind exists at Gerasa in Arabia. I have myself drank 
from the fountain of Cibyra, and my brethren from that of 
Gerasa." Augustine tells of a pious old cobbler, who 
prayed for a new coat at the Chapel of the Twenty Mar- 
tyrs. Some young fellows, who overheard him, made 
much fun of him. He walked away without minding their 
jeers, and presently he saw a large fish gasping on the 
shore. He took it to the market, and with the proceeds 
bought wool, which he intended to have woven into cloth. 
When the cook cut the fish open, she found a gold ring in 
it, which she carried to the cobbler, saying : " Here is the 
coat the Twenty Martyrs have given you." The same 
Father tells of a lad who was cured of palsy by being car- 
ried to an oratory containing some holy earth from Jeru- 
salem. Hanneric, the Yandal General, being an Arian, 
forbid the Catholics to hold meetings in the provinces he 
conquered. Some of them having assembled after this 
decree, their tongues were cut out by his orders ; but they 
still continued to speak, and praise the Lord. An account 
of this miracle was published two years after the event, by 
Victor, a bishop in Africa. He says : " If any one should 
doubt the truth of what I state, let him repair to Constan- 
tinople, and listen to the clear and perfect language of 
Eestitutus, the sub-deacon, one of those glorious sufferers, 
who is now lodged in the palace of the emperor Zeno, and 
is respected by the devout empress." JEnaeus, a Platonic 
philosopher converted to Christianity, speaks of this miracle 
in his work on the Immortality of the Soul. He says: 
"I saw the men myself. I heard them speak. I dili- 
gently inquired how such an articulate voice could be 
formed without any organ. I used my eyes to examine 
the report of my ears. I opened their mouths, and saw 
that the tongues had been completely torn away by the 
roots ; an operation which physicians generally suppose to 
be mortal." This miracle is referred to by several later 
writers, and by the emperor Justinian, in one of his edicts. 
In after times, it was said that one of the sufferers was a 


boy who had been dumb from his birth, until his tongue 
was cut out. 

It was a custom with the Druids to borrow money, for 
which they gave people notes payable in another world ; 
and these writings were buried with the dead, that they 
might take with them the proof of their claims. I find one 
similar transaction recorded of a Christian priest. Synesius, 
the learned Bishop of Ptolemais, early in the fifth century, 
had a friend, Evagrius, who resisted his efforts at conver- 
sion; requiring to have proof that the Scripture was true, 
which declares : " He that giveth to the poor lendeth to the 
Lord, who will repay him." At last, his doubts were so 
far overcome, that he gave the bishop three hundred 
pieces of gold to be distributed among the poor, and re- 
ceived a written bond for the money, payable after death, 
in the name of the Lord. He kept the writing carefully, 
and on his death-bed instructed his family to put it secretly 
within his hand when they buried him. They did so; 
and three nights afterwards, he appeared in a dream to 
Synesius, who had not been informed of the transaction, 
and said : " Come to my grave, and take back your note. 
I have received full payment, and have written a dis- 
charge.'" The grave being opened, the note was found, 
with a receipt in full endorsed upon the back of it, in the 
handwriting of the deceased. This note was long after- 
wards preserved in the church at Cyrene, as a precious 

The belief that miracles could also be performed by un- 
believers, through the evil agency of magic, continued to 
prevail generally. The degree of faith on this subject, is 
indicated by Lactantius. Speaking of some who declared 
that the soul died with the body, he says: "They would 
not dare to affirm this in the presence of a magician ; for 
he would refute them on the spot, by calling up the souls 
of the dead, rendering them visible to human eyes, and 
making them foretell future events." 

There are, however, indications that human reason be- 
gan to put some weight into the other scale ; enough at 


least to make the balance waver. Though Chrysostom re- 
lates so many wonders wrought by relics of martyrs, con- 
secrated oil, and the sign of the cross, yet in other parts of 
his writings, he apologizes for the diminution of miracles in 
his day. lie says: "Paul's handkerchiefs could once do 
greater miracles than all the Christians of our day can do, 
with ten thousand prayers and tears. Because no miracles 
are wrought now, we are not to consider it proof that none 
were performed then ; for then they were of use, but now 
they are not. In the infancy of the church,, extraordinary 
gifts of the Spirit were bestowed, even on the unworthy ; 
because those early times stood in need of that help to fa- 
cilitate the propagation of the Gospel. But now, they are 
not given even to the worthy, because the present strength 
of the Christian faith no longer needs them." " There are 
some who ask : ' Why are there no persons now who raise 
the dead, and cure diseases ?' It is owing to want of faith y 
and virtue, and piety in these times." In another place, he 
speaks of miracles as proper only " to rouse the dull and 
sluggish ; frequently liable to sinister suspicions of being 
mere phantasms and illusions." He adds : " It is a proof of 
the greater generosity of this age, to take God's word with- 
out such pledges." 

Though Augustine enumerates more than seventy mira- 
cles, within two years, within his own diocese, three of 
which were resurrections from the dead, he also offers an 
explanation of the decline of miracles. He says: "They 
ask why are not those miracles performed now, which you 
declare to have been wrought formerly ? I could tell them 
that they were then necessary, before the world believed, 
for the very purpose that it might believe ; but he who 
requires a prodigy to make him a believer now, when the 
world believes, is himself a greater prodigy." He also 
makes a statement which implies a certain degree of indif- 
ference, if not incredulity on the part of the public. He 
says : " Though miracles are often wrought by the name of 
Jesus, or by his sacraments, or by the relics of martyrs, yet 
they do not acquire so much reputation as did those of the 


Apostles. They are scarcely ever known to the whole city 
or place where they occur, but for the most part are known 
only to a very few ; and if they are told abroad, they are 
not recommended with such authority, as to be received 
without difficulty and doubting, though told by true be- 
lievers to true believers." Therefore, when he heard of 
any miracle, he caused the parties to be examined, and if 
facts seemed to sustain the report, an account of them was 
drawn up, and publicly read to the people. But he says: 
" Those who hear it, retain nothing of it a few days 
after, and seldom take the pains to repeat it to anybody 

It was an oriental custom to wear religious symbols 
marked on the forehead. The devotees of different sects 
in Hindostan were distinguished by such marks. Allu- 
sions made by Ghrysostom and Augustine imply that in 
their day Christians frequently had a cross impressed in 
some way upon their foreheads. The cross was at first 
merely a sign, made by motion of the hands ; but after the 
time of Constantine, it began to be used as an image, made 
of wood, silver, or gold, and often adorned with precious 
stones. It was considered a talisman, to cure diseases and 
protect from all kinds of dangers ; hence representations of 
it abounded everywhere, in public and private, as did the 
Cross of Hermes, among the Egyptians. Chrysostom af- 
firms that in his own time it had sometimes been miracu- 
lously impressed upon the garments of people. He calls 
it "a defence against all evil, and a medicine against all 
sickness." He says: "This sign, both in the days of our 
forefathers and our own, has thrown open gates that were 
shut ; destroyed the effects of poisonous drugs ; dissolved 
the force of hemlock; and cured the bites of venomous 
beasts." " This sign of universal execration, of extremest 
punishment, has now become the object of universal long- 
ing and love. We see it everywhere triumphant. We 
find it in houses, on the roofs and the walls ; in cities and 
in villages ; on the great roads, and in the deserts ; on 
mountains, and in valleys; on the market-place, and on 


ships ; on books, and on weapons ; on the bodies of those 
possessed with Evil Spirits ; on diseased animals; on wear- 
ing apparel ; on vessels of gold and of silver; on beds, and in 
pictures ; in the marriage chamber, and at banquets ; in 
the dances of those going to pleasure ; and in the associa- 
tions of those that mortify their bodies," [monks.] Au- 
gustine says : " The sign of the cross on the forehead of 
kings is now more precious than a jewel of his diadem.' 7 
He cautioned men against the mere mechanical custom, 
and reminded them that it was not the outward image, or 
the external sign described on the forehead, that was pleas- 
ing in the sight of God, but the imitation of Christ's hu- 
mility in the soul. 

Other religions were made tributary to the prevailing 
tendency to invest Christianity with supernatural interest. 
The simple fact that priests of Apollo considered it pro- 
fanity to perform their rites in the presence of dead bodies, 
was construed by Chrysostom into a miracle. He said 
Apollo confessed it was not in his power to utter any more 
oracles, because the martyr Babylas had commanded him 
to be silent. The Fourth Eclogue of Virgil was continu- 
ally quoted as a prophecy of Christ. Eusebius, the histo- 
rian, who manifests great credulity in many instances, 
regarded as true prophecy the acrostic attributed to the 
Erythraean Sibyl, forming the words Jesus Christ, Son of 
God, Saviour. He says : " Many people, though they ad- 
mitted that the Erythraean Sybil was a prophetess, rejected 
this acrostic, suspecting it to have been forged by the Chris- 
tians. But the truth is manifest. Our people have been 
so exact in computing the times, that there is no room left 
to imagine the verses were made after Christ, and falsely 
sent abroad as predictions of the Sibyl. All agree that 
Cicero had read this poem, which he translated into the 
Latin tongue, and inserted in his works." The simple fact 
is, Cicero alluded to certain verses, which partisans of Ju- 
lius Caesar wrote to serve a political purpose, and attributed 
them to the Erythraean Sybil. He ridiculed the poetry, 
and said the acrostic form implied labour and study, and 


therefore could not have been uttered by any of the Sybils, 
who always prophesied in states of ecstasy. 

Eusebius likewise quotes the following story from Plu- 
tarch. In the reign of Tiberius, a vessel sailing from Asia 
to Italy, passed by certaiu Islands in the iEgean Sea, in 
the evening. A voice was heard from the shore calling 
out to Thamus, one of the mariners on board, telling him 
when they came to the Palades, to inform the people that 
the great Pan was dead. The commander, who doubtless 
had the common tendency to be impressed by any sudden 
or mysterious utterance, resolved to obey the injunction, 
if circumstances seemed to favour it. When the vessel ar- 
rived at the designated place, it was detained by contrary 
winds, and the message was proclaimed. Whereupon, 
there came upon the breeze a sound as of many voices, 
howling and wailing. As Jesus was crucified in the reign 
of Tiberius, Eusebius believed these woful sounds came 
from Evil Spirits, lamenting that Pan was overthrown, and 
the kingdom of Satan in general subverted by the sacrifice 
of the Son of God. Christian writers of the third and fourth 
centuries likewise relate that when the Eoman Senate de- 
creed divine honours to the emperor Augustus, he consulted 
the Sibyl Tiburtina whether he ought to allow himself to 
be worshipped. After some days of meditation the Sybil 
summoned him, and pointing to the sky, showed him an 
altar in the opening clouds, and above it a beautiful wo- 
man with an infant in her arms. At the same time, he heard 
a voice saying : " This is the altar of the Son of the living- 
God." In consequence of this vision, it is said Augustus 
erected an altar on the Capitoline Hill, inscribed to the 
" First Born of God." 

These stories were often founded on some real occur- 
rence, exaggerated or changed in the course of repetition ; 
as was the case with regard to the oracle of Apollo silenced 
by the bones of Babylas, and the thunder-shower which 
refreshed the army of Marcus Aurelius. Desiderius Her- 
auldus remarks : " The Christians of that time strained to 
their advantage all the actions, words, and writings of the 
Vol. III.— 13 o 


Pagans, which they often interpreted contrary to the true 
meaning." The candid examiner is obliged to confess that 
there is too much foundation for this assertion. 

It was a common opinion among the Fathers that the 
Garden of Eden still existed in all its primeval beauty, 
though inaccessible ; being on the summit of a high moun- 
tain, reaching into the third region of the air, near the 
moon. This extreme elevation protected it from the wa- 
ters of the deluge. Augustine did not urge it as an essen- 
tial point of faith, but he thought it improper to reject it, 
inasmuch as Irenaeus, and other primitive Fathers, declared 
it to have been a doctrine taught by the Apostles. Some 
supposed that Enoch and Elijah both existed in the body 
in that terrestrial Paradise waiting the appointed time to 
appear on earth again and contend with Antichrist, pre- 
paratory to the coming of the Lord. 

On some moral questions there was a diversity of opinion 
among the Fathers. Some thought it wrong to take inter- 
est for money. Lactantius differed from the generality of 
Christians in regarding all war as a violation of the com- 
mandment: "Thou shalt not kill." He was the last of 
the Fathers who clung to the belief that Christ would come 
visibly and establish a kingdom on earth. There was an 
increasing tendency to give predictions on that subject a 
spiritual interpretation. But the doctrine still retained its 
hold on popular belief, and was a frequent theme for pro- 
phets. Jerome speaks of a millennium of wine, and wheat, 
and fruitful marriages, as " a Jewish fable, which ought to 
be rejected ;" but he adds that he foresaw how many peo- 
ple would be angry with him. 

Ideas concerning animals in Paradise which Jews de- 
rived from the Talmud, they transmitted to the Fathers. 
Basil, describing the garden of Eden, says: "Then the 
beasts of the field, and the fowls of the air were all tame 
and mild. They heard, and spoke so as to be understood 
without any difficulty. There was then nothing in the 
appearance of the serpent to excite horror. He did not 
prawl on his belly, but walked erect." 


The mode of interpreting Scripture continued to be ex- 
ceedingly arbitrary and undefined. Ambrose says when 
Jesus told his disciples, " Ye shall say unto this mountain, 
Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove," he 
meant the Devil by the word mountain. Hilary, Bishop 
of Poictiers, quotes the words : "Are not two sparrows sold 
for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the 
ground without your Father." He says by the two spar- 
rows are meant sinners, who sell themselves to sin for mere 
trifles; thus becoming both as one; the soul thickening 
into a body, as it were, by means of sin. By the ninety- 
nine sheep that went not astray, he understood the angels ; 
and by the one lost sheep, mankind ; inasmuch, as all man- 
kind were lost by partaking the sin of one man. The fol- 
lowing exposition by Epiphanius, Bishop of Constantia, 
is as singular a specimen of natural history, as it is of Bibli- 
cal interpretation : " There is no bird that manifests such 
love for its offspring, as the pelican. The female, while 
setting on her nest, cherishes her young with such tender- 
ness, that she pierces their side with her kisses, and they 
die of the wounds. In three days, the male bird visits the 
nest, and is deeply affected at finding his young ones dead. 
Under the impulse of his grief, he strikes his own side, and 
opens wounds in it ; and the blood which flows thence, in- 
fused into the wounds of the young birds, restores them to 
life. Thus our Lord Jesus had his side pierced by a spear, 
and immediately there came forth blood and water ; and 
he dropped his blood upon his young ones ; that is, upon 
Adam and Eve, and the prophets, and all the dead ; and 
enlightened the world, and gave them life, by his three 
days' burial and his resurrection. It is on this account he 
said, by the prophet : 'lama pelican in the wilderness.' " 

The early Fathers applied to the person of Jesus the 
prophecy concerning the Messiah, which declares he would 
have no beauty that men should desire him. Some of the 
later Fathers, including human beauty in their general 
contempt for every thing connected with the body, adhered 
to the same opinion, Basil took this view of the subject ; 


and Cyril of Alexandria alludes to Christ's " ignoble ap- 
pearance, faulty beyond all the sons of men." But this 
idea was generally rejected after their time. Jerome says : 
"Assuredly that splendour and majesty of the hidden Di- 
vinity, which shone even in his human countenance, could 
not but attract all beholders, at first sight." " Unless he 
had something celestial in features and expression, the 
Apostles would not have immediately followed him." 
Chrysostom says: "The Heavenly Father poured upon 
him in full streams that corporeal grace which is only dis- 
tilled drop by drop on mortal men." Gregory of Nyssa 
applies to him all the glowing pictures of the bridegroom 
in the Song of Solomon. Augustine declares : " He was 
beautiful on his mother's bosom, beautiful in the arms of 
his parents; beautiful upon the cross, beautiful in the 

The opinion that Mary lived with Joseph as his wife r 
after the birth of Jesus, was early ranked among the here- 
sies. It was maintained that she was always a virgin from 
her birth to her death ; and Joseph was represented as a 
very old man under whose protection she was placed, for 
the sake of appearances. In discussions on this subject, in 
all its branches, there is a strange mingling of sincerely 
devout feeling with the most material forms of thought and 
expression, which will by no means bear translation to 
modern ears. Eusebius and Epiphanius agree with Origen 
and Tertullian, in supposing that Joseph was a widower 
when Mary married him, and that the brothers and sisters 
of Jesus, spoken of by Matthew and Luke, were his chil- 
dren by a former wife. This opinion was violently assailed 
by Jerome and others. They regarded it as impious to 
suppose he had children by a previous marriage, and main- 
tained that he also was perpetually chaste. It was said the 
word brethren was merely a general term to designate rela- 
tives. It was finally decided that Mary, the wife of Cleo- 
phas, was sister of the Virgin Mary ; and that it was her 
son who was called "James, the Lord's brother." 

A book called " The Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus," 


supposed to have been written by some of the Gnostics, 
was in general circulation in the third century, and por- 
tions of it are quoted by the Fathers as reliable traditions. 
In this Gospel the Virgin is called "the holy Mary," and 
represented as saying : "As there is not any child like to 
my son, so neither is there any woman like to his mother." 
Another book, called the Protevangelion, or First Gospel, 
supposed to have a similar origin, purporting to be written 
" by James the Lesser, Cousin and Brother of the Lord 
Jesus," is frequently alluded to by the Fathers. Joseph is 
therein represented as an aged man with children, who 
objects to marrying one so young as Mary, lest he should 
" appear ridiculous in Israel." But the High Priest over- 
ruled his scruples, by saying to him : " Thou art the person 
chosen to take the Virgin of the Lord, to keep her for him." 
After the Arian Controversy, when Mary began to be 
called the Mother of God, the ardour of expression in- 
creased toward her, until it sounds like actual adoration. 
Athanasius, who lived early in the fourth century, ad- 
dresses her thus: "Remember us, O most holy Virgin, 
and for the feeble eulogiums we give thee grant us great 
gifts from the treasures of thy grace, thou who art full of 
grace ! Queen, and Mother of God, intercede for us !" 
Ephrem of Edessa, nearly a century later, says: ""We fly 
to thy patronage, holy Mother of God ! Protect and guard 
us under the wings of thy mercy and kindness! Most 
merciful God, through the intercession of the most blessed 
Virgin Mary, and of all the angels, and of all the saints, 
show pity to thy creature !" There was a sect called Mary- 
anites, who believed that Mary was one of the persons 
of the Godhead. It is said some of them urged this opinion 
at the Council of Nice. The first mention of direct worship 
of the Virgin is by Epiphanius, who lived at the close of 
the fifth century. Enumerating eighty-four heresies which 
had sprung up, he mentions a small sect called Collyridians, 
which means offerers of small cakes. They emigrated from 
Thrace into Arabia, and seem to have brought with them 
the customary worship of Ceres, transferred to the Virgin 
Vol. III.— 13* 


Mary, whose mother they supposed was also a virgin. 
Women among them, who were appointed priestesses, pre- 
sided at her festival, during which small cakes, made <>! 
meal and honey, were placed in a chariot and can 
through the streets, followed by a procession. They were 
then laid on an altar, and offered to the Virgin Mary with 
invocations. Epiphanius rebuked this custom. He says : 
" I own her body was holy, but she was no god. She con- 
tinued a virgin, but she is not proposed for our adoration. 
She herself adored him, who having descended from heaven, 
from the bosom of his Father, was born of her flesh. She 
stands before all the saints of God, on account of the 
heavenly mystery accomplished in her. But we adore no 
saint ; and as worship is not given to Angels, much less 
can it be allowed to the daughter of Ann. Let Mary 
therefore be honoured, but the Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost alone adored. Let no one worship Mary." The 
rapturous mode of expression concerning the Virgin, and 
the tendency to deify her, led adherents of the old religion 
to call her "The New Cybele, or Mother Goddess of the 

In the history of sects it has already been stated what 
multifarious difficulties arose, and what hot controversies- 
were excited r before the doctrine of the Trinity was satis- 
factorily arranged by the frequent assembling of bishops. 
Some of the arguments made use ofj in the course of these 
controversies, were very peculiar r and characteristic of the 
times. Augustine considered the creation in six days a 
proof of the Trinity; because "six is twice three." Am- 
brose says: "Jesus appeared to be the son of a carpenter, 
to signify that Christ the Son was the Maker of all things." 
In controversy whether the generation of the Son was 
voluntary, or involuntary, Chrysostom speaks of eructa- 
tion as a good thing, and compares it to the production of 
the Logos from God; but he says it was an "eructation 
from the heart, not from the stomach." Laetantius, to 
guard against the idea that any Archangel could be equal 
with the Son, speaks of Angels as the breath of God, and 


of Christ as the Word of God. He says : " The breathings 
of men are dissoluble, but the breathings of God remain, 
and are immortal. His silent breathings from the nostrils 
become Angels. But his Word is a breath emitted from 
the mouth, with a sound ; therefore there is a great differ- 
ence between the Son of God and the Angels. For though 
he also is a Spirit, yet since he issues from the mouth of 
God, with a voice, like a word, for this reason he was to 
make use of his voice to the people ; because he was to 
teach with authority the doctrine of God, and communi- 
cate heavenly secrets to men." 

The early Fathers were frequently quoted during the 
Arian controversy, to prove that there was a time when the 
Son did not exist ; but this idea was decided to be heresy. 
Gregory of Nyssa says : "If there had been no Son there 
could have been no Father ; if no beam, no sun ; if no 
image, no substance." The question arose, if Christ was 
co-eternal with God, and the same as God, how he came 
to say : "Of that hour knoweth no man ; no not even the 
Son but only the Father." The Council at Chalcedon 
decided that in Christ existed two perfectly harmonized 
natures, the divine and the human. Therefore, some 
argued that as God, he knew all things ; but as man, many 
things were hidden from him. But some of the Fathers 
did not admit that Christ really was ignorant on any 
subject. Cyril of Alexandria says: "If God affected 
ignorance where Adam was, and of what Cain had been 
doing, why should we wonder that the Son of God affected 
ignorance concerning the Day of Judgment. Christ also 
affected ignorance, when he asked how many loaves his 
disciples had." 

Augustine says: "If all things were made by Christ, 
then Mary, of whom he was born, was made by him." 
Cassian says : " Mary produced one who was older than 
herself, even her own Maker ; so that she was the parent 
of her parent." 

Some curiously inquisitive minds asked, why God did 
not have more than one Son. This gave rise to many 


remarks, seriously and honestly made, but unfit for quota- 
tion. Hilary, Bishop of Poicters, says: "The doctrine of 
the generatioD of the Son is much ridiculed; because they 
say it implies the necessity of a wife to God." 

Discussions concerning the Third Person of the Trinity 
were also involved in difficulties. The question arose 
whether the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father, or 
from the Son. Some said : "If the Spirit proceeded from 
the Father, then he and the Logos are brothers. How 
then can the Logos be called the only begotten Son of 
God!" Others objected: "But if he proceeded from the 
Son, then God is the Grandfather of the Holy Spirit." 
The speculative tendency always very busy in some of the 
Eastern churches, especially at Constantinople, queried 
whether the Holy Ghost could also himself have had a 
son. Athanasius says: "Both Macedonians and the or- 
thodox agree in supposing that the Spirit could have 
generated, as well as the Father, but that he did not choose 
to do it, lest there should be a multiplicity of gods." Some 
minds were troubled because the Angel Gabriel had an- 
nounced to Mary : " The holy thing which shall be born 
of thee is of the Holy Spirit." From this ground arose a 
sect, who said that Christ was the Son of the Holy Ghost. 
Ambrose decides the question thus : " The holy, undivided 
Trinity never does anything separately. The Father, the 
Son, and the Spirit created the body of Christ. The 
Father, because it is said, ' God sent his Son, made of a 
woman ;' the Son, because it is said, ' Wisdom has builded 
her a house;' the Spirit, because Mary was with child by 
the Spirit." The personality of the Spirit being much 
questioned, Epiphanius replied, that he assumed the form 
of a dove, at the baptism of our Saviour on purpose to 
show that he hud a real person. 

Unbelievers in the divinity of Christ continually asked 
why the Prophets, the Apostles, and Christ himself, had 
either not spoken at all on the subject of the Trinity, or 
made allusions so vague, that a doctrine deemed so im- 
portant was left to be settled with so much difficulty by 


repeated Councils of Bishops. The Fathers replied, that 
the Prophets did not mention the Son of God clearly, on 
account of the material tendencies of the Jews, who would 
immediately have thought that he was generated with pas- 
sion; and so they would have been guilty of profanity. 
Many of the Fathers say Christ was careful to conceal his 
divinity, because it was necessary to keep the Devil in ig- 
norance of the fact; for if he had known him, he would 
not have ventured to encounter him, and so would not 
have been conquered by his death ; and thus the great ob- 
ject of his mission would have failed. Lactantius says : 
" Our Saviour taught that there is but One God, who alone 
is to be worshipped ; nor did he himself ever once say that 
he was God. He would not have been faithful to his trust, 
if, when he was sent to take away polytheism, and assert 
the unity of God, he had introduced another beside the 
One God. This had not been to preach the doctrine of 
One God, or to do the business of Him who sent him ; but 
his own." Athanasius says: "I will venture to assert that 
not even the blessed disciples themselves were fully per- 
suaded concerning his divinity, till the Holy Spirit came 
upon them at the day of Pentecost ; for when they saw him 
after his resurrection, some worshipped, but others doubted, 
yet they were not on that account condemned." Basil of 
Seleucia says: "The Apostles themselves were as igno- 
rant of his being God, as the rest of the Jews ; some of 
whom said he was Elijah, others Jeremiah, or one of the 
Prophets." Theodoret, the learned Bishop of Cyrus, says 
that before the crucifixion all held him to be a man ; " but 
after his resurrection and ascension, the descent of the 
Holy Spirit, and the various miracles performed by invok- 
ing his name, all the believers knew that he was God. and 
the only begotten Son of God." Chrysostom says: "It 
was necessary for Christ to conceal his high dignity from 
his disciples ; because they would immediately have told 
everything, through excess of joy. When he was discours- 
ing about the creation of the human race, he did not say / 
made them, but He that made them. He never clearly 



said that he made the world ; but he signified it by the 
miracle of the fishes, the wine, and the loaves." 

Similar reasons are given why the Apostles said so little 
'that could be considered as evidence of the Trinity, and 
why even John alludes to it only in a few verses, and not 
very plainly. Chrysostom, speaking of the great mystery 
of the incarnation, says: "Mary herself, when she carried 
him in her womb, did not know the secret. The Devil 
himself did not know it. If he had not been at a loss to 
know whether Christ were God or not, he would not have 
repeated thrice, : If thou art the Son of God.' On this ac- 
count, Christ said to John, who was beginning to reveal 
him, ' Hold now ! It is not yet time to reveal the secret of 
the incarnation. I must yet deceive the Devil. Keep 
silence now ; for thus it becometh us.' " The same Father 
adduces the incredulity of the Jews as another reason why 
the Apostles dwelt chiefly on the topic of his resurrection, 
and were so cautious in making allusions to his divinity. 
He says: "The Jews had been daily taught out of their 
Law, ' The Lord thy God is one Lord, and beside him there 
is no other? Having seen Jesus nailed to a cross, having 
killed and buried him themselves, and not having seen him 
after he had risen, if they had been told that this person 
was God, equal to the Father, would they not have spurned 
at it?" He assigns the same reason why Paul, writing 
twenty or thirty years after the death of Christ, is still so 
guarded as to say, " God who spake by the prophets," in- 
stead of saying that Christ spake by them. For the same 
reason, Peter, when addressing the Jews, said, "Jesus of 
Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, by miracles, 
and wonders, and signs, which God did by him in the 
midst of you, as ye yourselves also know." Theodoret 
says caution was also necessary toward Gentile converts ; 
lest, being accustomed to worship many deities, they might 
think Christians taught more Gods than one. Therefore, 
it was that Paul spoke to them of God as raising Christ 
from the dead ; not that Christ was unable to raise himself, 
but because he condescended to his hearers, as if they were 


little children. From the same cautious motives, he says 
Paul made no mention of the Holy Spirit, but said to 
them : " There is one God ; and one mediator between God 
and man ; the man Christ Jesus." The same writer ex- 
presses the opinion, that Paul in the fifteenth chapter of 
his Epistle to the Corinthians, speaks of the subjection of 
the Son to the Father in terms more lowly than was neces- 
sary for the benefit of his hearers. When Macedonius and 
his followers said that the Scriptures did not teach that the 
Holy Ghost was one of the Trinity, Epiphanius replied 
that the want of express testimony on that point, was owing 
to the fact that The Holy Spirit himself dictated the Scrip- 
tures, and he was reluctant to dwell too much on his own 
share in the transactions there recorded. Chrysostom, 
alluding to the incarnation of the Son of God, says : "If 
Joseph needed the vision of an Angel, in order to believe 
the fact, how would the Jews have received it? On this 
account, the Apostles did not at first speak of it, but rather 
discoursed largely concerning his resurrection ; for of this 
there were examples in former times, though not in all re- 
spects the same ; but they had never heard of a person 
being born of a virgin. Nor did his mother dare to men- 
tion this ; for observe how she says, ' Behold thy father 
and I have sought thee.' If it had been suspected, he 
would not have been thought to be a descendant of David ; 
and if that were not admitted, many mischiefs would have 
arisen. On that account, the Angels mentioned it to Mary 
and Joseph only ; and not to the shepherds, though they 
acquainted them with the fact of his being born." The 
same reason is given why Matthew and Luke traced the 
genealogy of Jesus up to Abraham and Adam. 

All the Fathers, who wrote on this subject, agreed that 
it was necessary for Mary to have a nominal husband, in 
order to conceal the miraculous conception. Basil says: 
" Mary was married to Joseph, that the Devil might not 
suspect she was a virgin ; for he knew that the Messiah, 
who was to put an end to his power, was to be born of 
one." Jerome suggests that one reason why Mary was 


married to Joseph was that her son might appear to be of 
the genealogy of David. Another was that her character 
might not be injnred, or her life endangered, as it would 
have been by the Law of Moses, if the miraculous circum- 
stances had been made known. He says : " Except Mary 
herself, her husband, and a few others, who might have 
been informed by them, all persons regarded Jesus as the 
son of Joseph ; and the Evangelists themselves, express- 
ing the common opinion, called Joseph the father of our 
Saviour." Basil of Seleucia, says: "When the devils 
called Christ the Son of God, they did not know that he 
was God ; for all uncommonly good men "were called sons 
of God ; and Israel was called his first-born son." Cyril 
of Jerusalem says : " It was necessary that Christ should 
suffer for us; but the Devil would not have gone near 
him, if he had known that. The body was the bait of 
death, that the dragon, thinking to swallow it down, might 
vomit up all that he bad swallowed." Kufinus also affirms 
that the divinity of Christ was concealed, in order to catch 
the Devil, as with a bait ; and he supposes the words of 
Ezekiel signify this, where he says: "I will draw thee out 
with my hook." When some objected that it was wrong 
to conquer the Devil by such means, Gregory, Bishop of 
Nyssa, replied : " It is fair enough to deceive the deceiver." 
It was the general opinion that the body of Christ was 
not subject to any human necessities, and that he ate and 
drank merely because it was necessary to seem to do it, in 
order to keep the secret of his divinity. To one who 
thought otherwise, Hilary exclaims : " Impious heretic ! 
You will not believe otherwise than that Christ felt, when 
the nails pierced his hands." Cyril says : " The holy and 
divine body of Christ had no passions." Ambrose, allud- 
ing to Christ's temptation in the wilderness, says : " See 
the artifice of the Lord, whereby he circumvented his 
adversary! After a prolonged fast, he pretended to be 
hungry, that he might plague the Devil, whom he had 
already overcome by fasting." 
The Fathers agreed in thinking that the honour of par- 


tially disclosing the great secret was reserved for the beloved 
Apostle John, whose Gospel they supposed to have been 
written after all the other Apostles were dead. Epiphanius 
says : " John found men arguing concerning the humanity 
of Christ. The Ebionites were in an error about his 
earthly genealogj^, deduced from Abraham, carried by 
Luke as high as Adam. The Cerinthians and Merinthians 
maintained that he was a mere man ; also the Nazarenes, 
and many other heretics. Therefore, he, coming last, (for 
he was the fourth to write a Gospel) began to call back 
the wanderers ; saying, The Logos, which was begotten 
by the Father from all eternity, was not from Mary only. 
He was not of the line of Joseph, or David, or Abraham, 
or Adam. But in the beginning was the Logos, and the 
Logos was with God, and the Logos was God." Jerome 
says : " John, the Apostle whom Jesus loved, wrote his 
Gospel the last of all, at the entreaty of the bishops of 
Asia, against Cerinthus and other heretics ; especially 
against the doctrine of the Ebionites, then gaining ground, 
who said that Christ had no existence before he was born 
of Mary. Therefore, he was compelled to declare his 
divine origin." Eusebius says : " John began the doctrine 
of the divinity of Christ ; that being reserved for him as 
the most worthy." Ambrose says : " The other Evange- 
lists, who treat of the humanity of Christ, were like ani- 
mals that walk on the earth ; but John, contemplating the 
power of his divinity more sublimely, flies to heaven with 
the Lord, and with an open voice he proclaims that he 
was always with God, and that he is God." Chrysostom 
represents John soliloquizing with himself thus : " Why 
do I not write what Matthew, and Mark, and Luke, through 
a wise and praiseworthy fear, passed by in silence, accord- 
ing to the orders that were given them ? How shall I 
speak what has been given me freely from above ?" He 
goes on to represent John holding the pen " with a tremb- 
ling hand, but rejoicing in spirit, considering how to begin 
the theology. Being in the body at Ephesus, but with a 
pure heart and holy spirit, he leaves the earth, and is 
Vol. III.— 14 


carried upward, and fishing out of the Father's bosom the 
doctrine of the divinity, he, in his body on earth, wrote : 
1 In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was made 
flesh, and dwelt among men.' " lie says : " John taught 
what the Angels themselves did not know, till he declared 
it." " John first lighted up the lamp of theology ; and 
all the churches, even the most distant, running to it, 
lighted up their lamps of theology, and returned rejoicing, 
saying : ' In the beginning was the Logos.' " 

There was a great tendency in the Fathers to deprecate 
the exercise of reason, and to substitute for it the authority 
of the church. It was settled that Scripture was the only 
guide, and that the right understanding of Scripture was a 
thing for bishops to decide. Athanasius, alluding to the 
doctrines of Paul of Samosata, says : "It grieves those 
who stand up for the holy faith, that the multitude, and 
especially persons of low understanding, should be infected 
with these blasphemies. Things sublime and difficult are 
to be apprehended only by faith ; and ignorant people 
must fall, if they cannot be persuaded to rest in faith, and 
avoid curious questions." Basil called reasoning " the 
Devil's work." Cyril of Alexandria says : " In matters 
of faith, all curiosity must cease." Ambrose says : "When 
faith is in question, away with all argument." Rufinus 
says : " That God is the Father of his own Son, our Lord, 
is to be believed, and not to be discussed ; for slaves must 
not dispute concerning the birth of their masters." 

It was the universal opinion of the early Fathers, that 
the Logos had often appeared to Abraham and the Patri- 
archs. But Augustine advanced the idea that all such 
appearances were Angels, who took upon themselves ficti- 
tious bodies, and the Logos spoke in and by them. 

The doctrine of inherent depravity in human nature, 
inherited from Adam's sin, early became a prevailing doc- 
trine. Ambrose says : " We have all sinned in the first 
man. With the propagation of the nature, the propagation 
of the guilt also has passed from one to all. In him, hu- 
man nature sinned." Augustine carried this doctrine to 


extreme results ; for the character of bis intellect was such 
that, whatever premises he adopted, he must needs carry 
them out to ultimate and consistent conclusions. But his 
writings on the subject varied at different periods of his 
theological growth. For nine years he belonged to the 
sect of Manicheans, who, in common with many other 
Gnostics, believed that the souls of some men emanated 
from Good Spirits, and whatever sins they committed, they 
must eventually return to their heavenly source ; that the 
souls of other men emanated from Evil Spirits, and by an 
eternal law of the universe they must forever remain ex- 
iles from the spheres of light. After Augustine was con- 
verted to the Catholic church, he was engaged in zealous 
controversy with his old friends the Manicheans ; and in 
opposition to their views, he maintained that no man was 
wicked by nature, but only by abuse of his free will. But 
afterward, when Pelagius taught that every man had 
power to perfect himself in holiness, by divine assistance, 
which was always granted to him who sought it, Augus- 
tine entered the lists against him also. The sum of the 
doctrines he maintained in this controversy may be briefly 
expressed in two extracts : " The whole essence of Chris- 
tian faith consists in the opposition and contrariety of two 
men. One is he through whom we were brought into the 
bondage of sin, and the other is he by whom we are re- 
deemed from sin. One ruined us in himself, in that he did 
his own will ; the other redeemed us in himself, in that he 
fulfilled not his own will, but the will of Him who sent 
him." " Man is by nature corrupt. He is incapable of 
any good, and absolutely unable to do anything for his 
own renovation. He cannot even will that which is good ; 
everything must be effected by the operation of grace upon 
the heart." From these premises, he came to the conclu- 
sion that God had, of his own will, elected from all eternity 
some souls to be saved, and had predestined others irrevo- 
cably to eternal misery. No one knew who among pro- 
fessed Christians were fore-ordained to be reprobates ; but 
it was every one's duty to resign himself to the divine de- 


crees, with all humility, and be willing to be damned, if it 
was for the glory of God. After Augustine's time, the 
doctrines of original sin, total depravity, election, and pre- 
destination, prevailed in the church. 

Origen had proved the sincerity of his Christian faith by 
much self-sacrifice and suffering. In his own day, and foi 
more than a century afterward, Christians were proud of 
him as a man of great learning and unblemished charac- 
ter ; and his writings exerted a great influence. But the 
Arians often quoted his theory of the subordination of the 
Son to the Father, and this began to bring him into disre- 
pute. The severer class of theologians were offended by 
his doctrine that good would finally triumph over evil, 
and all things in the universe be restored to harmony and 
happiness. Jerome accused him of wishing to save all 
sinners, even the Devil himself. Despisers of human 
learning scoffed at his culture, and charged him with min- 
gling Pagan philosophy with Christianity. But many 
cultivated men, especially those of mystical tendencies, 
reverenced that spiritual -minded Father, and loved his 
writings. Gregory of Nazianzen, and Gregory of Nyssa, 
took similar views concerning the final victory of good 
over evil. They considered all punishment as a means of 
purification, ordained by divine love. They said God 
would not have permitted the existence of evil, if he had 
not foreseen that by the redemption, all rational beings 
would, in the end, attain to a blessed fellowship with him- 
self. Theodore also said : " God would not revive the 
wicked at the resurrection, if they must needs suffer only 
punishment, without reformation." The Persian idea of 
purification by fire, and the final restoration of all things, 
re-appeared in a Christian form, under various modifica- 

A very intimate friendship existed between Jerome and 
Eufinus, who, like himself, was a presbyter, and a distin- 
guished Christian writer. They kept up a very affection- 
ate correspondence, and always spoke of each other with 
the warmest praise. They both delighted in the writings 


of Origen ; but after the Arians appealed to them as au- 
thority, Jerome, who watchfully guarded his reputation 
for orthodoxy, began to attack with violence the writings 
he had formerly admired ; and at last boasted of it, as his 
work, that " the whole world was set in a blaze of hatred 
against Origen." Theophilus, Bishop of Alexandria, a 
great persecutor of Arians and other heretics, condemned 
the writings of Origen, and banished from Egypt certain 
monks who favoured them. Because the kind-hearted 
Chrysostom gave them shelter, he stigmatized him as "the 
prince of the sacrilegious ; an enemy of mankind ; a filthy 
devil." Jerome thus commends Theophilus for his zeal 
against heretics : "I write briefly to assure you that the 
zeal of your emissaries for the faith, their activity in 
exploring the districts of Palestine for heretics, their per- 
severance in hunting the creatures to their dens, and dis- 
persing them, will give a triumph to the whole world, and 
fill it with the glory of your victories. The multitude 
will gaze with exultation at the standard of the cross lifted 
at Alexandria, and the brilliant trophies won from heresy. 
To speak candidly to your lordship, we used to lament that 
you were so patient. We were ignorant of the tactics of 
our leader, and eager for the destruction of these wretches. 
But I see you kept your hand aloft so long, and suspended 
the blow, only to strike more terribly." Eufinus wrote in 
defence of Origen, and quoted some of Jerome's former 
praises of that learned Father. A fierce altercation ensued, 
in the course of which they mutually accused each other. 
Jerome exhausted the bitter epithets of language; and 
when he heard of the death of his former friend, he com- 
posed the following epitaph : " The hydra-headed monster 
has at length ceased to hiss, and the scorpion lies beneath 
the earth in Sicily." 

Controversies concerning the tenets of Origen continued 
to disturb the peace of the church more or less for a cen- 
tury and a half longer. Finally, in the sixth century, 
when he had been dead three hundred years, the emperor 
Justinian, and the bishops of his time, condemned his 
Vol. Ill— 14* 


writings to the flames, and pronounced the opinion that 
( Mi'jvn himself could not be saved. 

Augustine expressed the general sentiment of the Catho- 
lics of his time, when he said : "No one can attain salva- 
tion, who has not Christ for his head ; and no one can have 
Christ for his head, who does not belong to his body, which 
is the church." In one of his epistles, approved by a synod 
of bishops, he tells the Donatists : " Whoever is separated 
from this Catholic church, however innocently he may 
think he lives, yet being separated from the unity of 
Christ, for that crime alone he will not have life, but the 
anger of God remains upon him." When they complained 
of the violent persecutions they suffered, he vindicated the 
persecutors by quoting the example of Elijah, who slew the 
prophets of Baal with his own hand. But when he was 
reminded that the spirit of the New Testament differed 
from that of the Old, he admitted the justice of the distinc- 
tion. When it was proposed to obtain penal laws to force 
the Donatists into the Catholic church, he and several of 
the younger bishops argued that men must seek to conquer 
by arguments only, unless they would have hypocritical 
Catholics, instead of avowed heretics. Honorius, the son 
and successor of Theodosius the Great, persecuted the Do- 
natists with great severity. Three hundred bishops and 
many thousands of the clergy in Africa, were stripped of 
their possessions and exiled, and their people were pun- 
ished and heavily fined, if they assembled together for wor- 
ship. These coercive measures drove many of them into 
the Catholic church. Augustine, forgetful of his own 
argument, that force merely induced hypocrisy, warmly 
approved of the emperor's proceedings, and sustained it by 
reference to the parable concerning those who were forced 
to come in to the supper from the highways and the hedges. 
Large numbers of the Donatists still held out obstinately, 
and filled the country with tumult and bloodshed. The 
Yandals were at that time making war upon the Eoman 
empire, and Genseric, their leader, had been converted to 
Christianity in the Arian form. He made common cause 


with the Donatists, probably from motives of policy, and 
exerted himself to get the oppressive edicts against them 
repealed. They joined his army, helped him to conquer 
Africa, and fiercely retaliated the injuries they had received. 
All the Catholics whom they took prisoners were compelled 
to be baptized over again, and partake of the communion 
after their manner. If they refused, they were hung up 
with weights to their feet and cruelly scourged, or branded 
with red-hot iron, or had their hands, ears, noses, or tongues 
cut off. These cruel punishments were inflicted upon all 
ranks, and even upon respectable matrons and virgins of 
the church. Catholics complained loudly of the persecu- 
tions they themselves suffered ; but they praised the Yan- 
dals for burning Manicheans at the stake ; and they rejected 
with horror a proposition that Arians and Catholics should 
be mutually tolerated by Romans and Yandals. Soon 
after Nestorius was appointed Patriarch of Constantinople, 
he thus publicly addressed the emperor, Theodosius the 
Younger: "Purge the earth of heretics for me, sire, and I 
will in return bestow heaven upon you. Join me in ex- 
tirpating the heretics, and we will join you in subduing 
the Persians." Whoever ventured to differ from his theo- 
logical opinions, was whipped, or imprisoned. When 
some of the people complained that they had an emperor 
instead of a bishop, they were punished with lashes. 
Not long after, because he objected to calling Mary 
the Mother of God, he was himself forced to drain the 
bitter cup of persecution, which he had forced others to 

Now and then there were gleams of a better spirit, and 
wherever they appeared, even the fiercest sectarians ac- 
knowledged their divinity. Cyril of Alexandria was so 
violent and overbearing in his tone, that Nestorius relin- 
quished all attempts at explanation, and refused to answer 
any more of his letters. Lampon, a presbyter at Alexan- 
dria, who was noted for his gentle and loving spirit, went 
to Constantinople, with the hope of healing the schism. 
He easily induced Nestorius to renew the correspondence 


with his haughty episcopal brother. In his letter to Cyril, 
he bears the following testimony: "Nothing surpasses the 
power of Christian gentleness. By that man's might I 
have been conquered. I confess I am seized with fear, 

when I perceive in any man the spirit of Christian love. It 
is as ii'God dwelt in him." Theodosius, the fierce despotic 
soldier, truly reverenced the meek and gentle character of 
Christ, though he would have deemed it mean and con- 
temptible for him to imitate it. In the same way, the 
sternest polemical soldiers of the church militant acknow- 
ledged the heavenly nature of qualities they seldom at- 
tempted to copy. Athanasius could argue thus, when his 
own party was persecuted by the Arian emperor Con- 
stantius: "Because there is no truth in Satan, wherever 
he gains admittance, he pays away with hatchet and sword. 
But the Saviour is so gentle, he says, Will any one come 
after me ? He only knocks at the door of the soul, and 
Bays, Open to me, my sister. But if any one is unwilling 
to open the door, he withdraws. The truth is not preached 
by sword and javelin, nor by armies, but by persuasion 
and admonition." Yet eighty Arian bishops signed a pro- 
test, in which they accused Athanasius of robbing their 
churches in Alexandria, " with violence and bloodshed," 
and of forcing people by torture to partake of the commu- 
nion in his churches. Jerome seems to have been deeply 
touched by the Apostle John's oft repeated injunction: 
" My dear children, love one another." He says: "It was 
worthy of him, who rested on the bosom of God, and was 
trusted with its secrets." Yet he himself was accustomed 
to denounce, as "scorpions," "dragons," "wolves," and 
"devils," all men who could not see theological doctrines 
from his own point of view. 

In that transition state of the world, when a new mode 
of worship was being formed from multifarious scattered 
elements of the older times, Christian teachers were una- 
voidably engaged in perpetual controversy ; an atmosphere 
always unfavourable to the exercise of love, or candour. 
This allowance ought to be made for the exceeding bitter- 


ness of their sectarian strife ; and also for the untruthful- 
ness in which it must needs be confessed they sometimes 
indulged. In their anxiety to build up the church of 
Christ, they occasionally resorted to means well calculated 
to make Christianity appear disreputable to the conscien- 
tious and intelligent among Jews and Pagans. Mosheim, 
author of the Ecclesiastical History, expresses his fears that 
" those who search with attention into the writings of the 
Fathers of the fourth century, will find them disposed to 
deceive, when the interest of religion seemed to require it." 
Dr. Cave, author of Primitive Christianity, speaking of the 
much-quoted Sibylline Prophecies, inquires: "Who does 
not see that they were forged, for the advancement of the 
Christian faith?" Dr. Milman, in his History of Chris- 
tianity, says : " That some of the Christian legends were 
deliberate forgeries can scarcely be questioned. The prin- 
ciple of pious fraud appeared to justify this mode of work- 
ing on the popular mind. It was admitted and avowed. 
To deceive into Christianity was so valuable a service, as 
to hallow deceit itself." Eusebius, Bishop of Csesarea, in 
his Ecclesiastical History, has a chapter with the following 
heading : " How far it may be lawful and fitting to use 
falsehood as a medicine, for the advantage of those who 
require such a method." In explaining the line of limit- 
ation, he cites cases from the Hebrew Scriptures, where 
Jehovah is described as jealous or angry ; which he says 
was done " for the advantage of those who required such a 
method." The fact of making such an inquiry indicates 
the prevailing ideas of his time. Chrysostom, in his book 
on the Priesthood, distinctly declares that falsehood may be 
meritorious, if used for the benefit of the church. Jerome 
relates that Christians in Jerusalem showed certain red 
stones found among the ruins of the temple, and told peo- 
ple they were stained with the blood of Zacharias, who was 
slain between the temple and the altar. He adds : " But 1 
find no fault with an error, which springs from hatred to 
the Jews, and a pious zeal for the Christian faith." In a 
letter to his patrician proselyte Eustochium, he tries to dis- 


suade her from reading Pagan literature ; and to enforce 
the lesson, he gives an account, quoted in the preceding 
sketch of his life, of seeing Christ come to judge the world, 
and of being so severely beaten by angels, for reading 
Cicero, that he made a solemn vow never to look into a 
Pagan book again. He writes to her thus : " Think not 
that this was any of those drowsy fancies, or vain dreams, 
which sometimes deceive us. For the truth hereof, I call 
to witness that tribunal before which I then lay, and that 
judgment I was then in dread of. So may I never fall 
into the like danger, as this is true ! I do assure you I 
found my shoulders all over black and blue, with the stripes 
I then received, and which I felt, after I awoke. Ever since 
that, I have had greater affection for reading Divine Books, 
than I previously had for the study of human learning." 
Long afterward, when he and his former friend Rufinus 
were engaged in bitter disputation, Rufinus accused him 
of breaking his vow to Christ never again to read Pagan 
books ; and as evidence of his assertion, adduces the fact 
that the writings of Jerome still continued to abound with 
accurate quotations from the classics. Jerome at first re- 
plied, that he made all such extracts from memory. After- 
ward, he wrote : " Thus much I would say, if I had really 
promised anything in my waking moments. But with rare 
impudence, he objects against me a dream of mine. Let 
him who criminates a dream, listen to the voice of the Pro- 
phets, that no confidence is to be placed in dreams." The 
same Father, in reply to the charge of artifice in his mode 
of conducting theological controversies, seeks to excuse 
himself by quoting precedents. He says : " Origen, Me- 
thodius, Eusebius, Apollinaris, have written many thou- 
sands of lines against Celsus and Porphyry. Consider with 
what arguments, and what slippery problems, they baffle 
what was contrived against them by the spirit of the Devil ; 
and because they are sometimes forced to speak, they speak 
not what they think, but what is necessary against those 
who are called Gentiles. I do not mention the Latin writ- 
ers, Tertullian, Cyprian, Minucius, Yictorinus, Lactantius, 


Hilarius, lest I be thought not so much to be defending 
myself, as accusing others." 

The priesthood of all nations had always acted upon the 
system that it was necessary to deceive the mass of the peo- 
ple, for their own good ; that it was not possible to guide 
them by the plain open truth. Similar motives induced 
philosophers to veil their doctrines, and evade direct infer- 
ences. The same idea of managing the people, for their 
spiritual benefit, prevailed among the Christian Fathers. 
Even Origen, who seems to have been an unusually con- 
scientious man, thought it might sometimes prove useful to 
partially conceal the truth. He assigned the highest place 
in heaven to those who lived single, for the sake of religion ; 
and the second place, to those who married but once ; but 
he did not agree with some teachers, who maintained that 
the twice-married must be damned. He says : " It is, how- 
ever, better for people to be deceived into the belief that 
the twice-married cannot be saved ; and through that de- 
ception be enabled to live in purity, than to know the truth, 
and thereby be degraded into the rank of the twice-married ; 
though it would indeed be better to live unmarried, or in 
widowhood, without being deceived, and with a knowledge 
of the fact that the twice-married may partake of a degree 
of salvation." The Fathers also occasionally resorted to 
evasions, and subtle distinctions, which resembled diplo- 
macy. Among other objections to Christianity, it was com- 
mon for Pagans to declare that no state could maintain its 
existence, if such precepts of non-resistance to evil were 
carried into practice. Augustine replied, that those peace- 
ful maxims referred rather to the disposition of the heart, 
than to outward actions ; that the heart ought always to 
cherish patience and good will ; but actions might vary ac- 
cording to the best interest of those whose good we wished 
to promote. 

The fear of trusting truth to find its own way, and to 
rest simply on its own merits, produced lamentable results, 
in various ways. Many spurious productions were pub- 
lished under the names of men whose writings were habit- 


ually referred to with, deference ; such as Peter, Paul, Bar- 
nabas, Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, and others. 
And books really written by the Apostolic Fathers were 
altered and interpolated in the copying, to suit the theo- 
logical views of those who transcribed them. The learned 
and candid Neander says : " The writings of the so-called 
Apostolic Fathers have, for the most part, come down to us 
in a condition very little worthy of confidence ; partly be- 
cause under the names of those men, so highly venerated 
in the church, writings were early forged, for the purpose 
of giving authority to particular opinions or principles ; 
and partly because their own writings, which were extant, 
had become interpolated." Jews made similar charges con- 
cerning their history by Josephus, who was represented as 
speaking almost like a Christian in some cases ; though it 
is evident, from the general character of his works, that his 
Jewish opinions remained unchanged. Different copies of 
his manuscripts do not agree in chronology, and in other 
particulars. Origen and Jerome allude to passages not now 
to be found. That manuscripts were mutilated, either by 
accident or design, is very evident ; for scarcely any two 
copies could be found which were exactly alike. The cele- 
brated passage, where he expresses a doubt whether Jesus 
were a mere man, exists in very few copies ; and the same 
is said concerning his mention of James the Just, " the 
Lord's brother." These statements were not quoted, or 
referred to, by any Christian writers before the fourth cen- 
tury. This circumstance, combined with the fact that they 
are not found in many copies, and that they are obviously 
incongruous with the opinions of Josephus, always excited 
suspicions of their authenticity, in reflecting minds. At 
the present time, they are generally regarded by the learned 
as interpolations by some zealous Christian of the third cen- 
tury. The absence of printing at that period rendered such 
impositions comparatively safe from detection, especially 
■where few had the wish to expose them. 

The discipline of the church retained its early character 
of strictness ; but as the line of demarcation between the 


orthodox and all manner of heretics was more closely de- 
fined, errors of faith began to be regarded as of equal, if 
not of greater importance than moral delinquencies, unless 
of a very gross character. Those who violated their bap- 
tismal vows were not allowed to partake of the communion, 
and were excluded from fellowship with the church, until 
it was decided that they had shown satisfactory marks of 
repentance. They were divided into four classes, accord- 
ing to the degree of their sin. The first class were obliged 
to remain outside of the church, prostrating themselves on 
the earth and imploring with tears that those who were 
passing in would pray for them. The next class were 
allowed to listen to the service with the unbaptized, in the 
area of the church. The third class were those for whom 
public prayers were offered; they kneeling meanwhile. 
The fourth class were allowed to be present at all the cere- 
monies of the church, but were not permitted to partake 
of the Lord's Supper, or to place an offering on the altar. 
The communion was never refused to any dying person, 
however great his crime, if he had shown signs of repen- 
tance. The tendency to asceticism had increased since the 
time of the early Fathers. Basil maintained that clothing 
should be for two purposes only ; for warmth and modesty. 
He says : " In Paradise, innocence was the only robe. Sin 
brought into the world the fig-leaved coat ; and what should 
more induce us to be humble in our apparel is that clothes 
are monitors of our apostacy." Some objected to the use 
of musical instruments in churches. The introduction of 
women's voices into the church service was also regarded 
as a dangerous innovation. It was one of the charges 
against Paul of Samosata, that by introducing this custom 
he had rendered the music of the church effeminate, and 
seductive in its sweetness. The Gnostics, and other hereti- 
cal sects, had made very effective use of fervid and ecstatic 
hymns; and the prejudice excited against these led many 
of the orthodox to require that nothing but the words of 
Scripture should be used in church music. Others again 
objected to have sacred words conveyed in melodies, which 
Vol. III.— 15 H 


had been used by Pagans. Atbanasius required that tbe 
singing in churcbes sbould be with tbe slightest possible 
inflections of voice, tbat tbe beauty of tones might not with- 
draw attention from the words. Jerome says: "Not with 
tbe voice, but with tbe heart, must we make melody to the 
Lord. We are not to smooth the throat with sweet drinks, 
like comedians, in order that the church may hear theatri- 
cal songs and melodies. Knowledge of the Scriptures, 
piety, and the fear of God should inspire our songs; so 
that not the voice of the singer, but the divine matter ex- 
pressed, may be the point of attraction ; that the Evil Spirit 
which entered into the heart of a Saul may be expelled 
from those who are in like manner possessed, rather than 
invited by those who would turn the house of God into 
a theatre." The sensitive conscience of Augustine was 
alarmed when the Ambrosian Chants in the church at 
Milan brought tears into his eyes. Whatsoever was of the 
senses he deemed sinful ; and he feared that he was moved 
by the sensuous luxury of sweet sounds, rather than by the 
devotional spirit of the Psalms. 

If the Fathers in the second century found occasion to 
rebuke some converts for luxury in furniture and dress, it 
may well be supposed that it would be far more necessary 
when Christianity was patronized and pampered by em- 
perors, and when it of course became a matter of custom, 
rather than conviction, with multitudes of professors. 
Wealthy converts painted their faces, and followed the 
fashion of colouring the hair with a golden tint. Garments 
richly embroidered with silk and gold were then much in 
vogue; the patterns representing flowers, landscapes, or 
hunting scenes. Christian matrons copied the fashion, but 
sought to manifest their piety by wearing dresses embroid- 
ered with the miracles of Christ ; such as the marriage at 
Cana, the paralytic carried in his bed, or the blind man 
receiving his sight. The preachers were continually re- 
proving such vanities. Jerome exclaims: "What busi- 
ness has paint on a Christian cheek ? Who can weep for 
her sins, when tears wash her face bare, and make furrows 


on her skin ? "With what confidence can faces be lifted up 
toward heaven, which the Maker cannot recognize as his 
own workmanship ?" 

But it was the same in those times, as it has been in all 
others. Women were quite as conspicuous for devotional 
tendencies, and unqualified self-sacrifice, as they were for 
manifestations of personal vanity. They always formed so 
large a proportion of the converts, that the most common 
sarcasm of the Pagans was that Christian assemblies were 
filled with women and slaves. The emperor Julian, and 
those who sympathized with his views, constantly re- 
proached the men for permitting their wives to give so 
much to the " Galilean churches." Yery many were prose- 
lyted by their wives, mothers, or sisters ; and the Christian 
character of others was greatly influenced by such relations. 
Nonna, the mother of Gregory of Nazianzen, won her hus- 
band from Gnosticism, and did much to form the kindly 
and devout character of her son. He tells us that she was 
never satisfied with helping the destitute ; that he often 
heard her say she would willingly sell herself and her chil- 
dren, if it were lawful, that she might bestow the price 
upon those who were suffering for food and clothing. Her 
whole life was divided between charity and devotion ; and 
her spirit passed from the body while she was kneeling 
before the altar. He praises his sister Gorgonia for the 
extreme plainness of her apparel f and says: "The only 
colour that pleased her in her complexion was blushing 
from modesty. The only whiteness she esteemed was the 
pallor that came through fasting and abstinence." It was 
mainly through the influence of his sister Macrina, that 
Basil the Great was induced to relinquish his brilliant 
prospects as a lawyer, and devote himself to an ascetic life. 
Anthusa, mother of Chrysostom, devoted her life to the 
formation of his religious character. Monica, the mother 
of Augustine, converted her passionate husband by her 
gentleness and piety, and was a powerful agent in reclaim- 
ing her wayward son. Wealthy ladies in Borne, conyerted 
by Jerome's preaching, renounced costly clothing, sold their 


jewels, and devoted their revenues to the suffering and the 
indigent. He says : " Ladies who could not endure to step 
on the filthy streets, who were fatigued to ascend a hill, 
who were carried by the hands of eunuchs, who considered 
the sunshine a conflagration, and were oppressed by the 
weight of a silken robe, now wear squalid and mourning 
garments of their own making." " They trim lamps, kin- 
dle the fire, sweep the pavement, boil vegetables, set the 
table, hand the cups, and run hither and thither." A 
patrician lady, named Fabiola, sold her estates, and with 
her ample revenues built and endowed the first asylum 
that was ever established for poor invalids. She gathered 
all the lame and diseased from the streets, and personally 
attended upon them in the hospital ; preparing their food, 
washing their wounds, and performing for them the most 
disagreeable offices. When she died, all Rome mourned, 
as for the loss of a mother. A long procession of old and 
young preceded her bier, singing hymns in her praise. 
The streets, the windows, and the tops of the houses were 
crowded with spectators ; and as the funeral passed along, 
a chorus of voices in all the churches sang, "Hallelujah !" 
The empress Placilla, wife of Theodosius the Younger, was 
constantly in the habit of visiting the poor at their own 
houses, and in the hospitals ; washing their cups, handing 
them their broth, and arranging their pillows, with her 
own imperial hands. 

The early Fathers generally spoke favourably of mar- 
riage, and though they denounced the amusements of 
social life, they said nothing in praise of withdrawing from 
its active duties. But as time passed on, the oriental ele- 
ment became more and more obviously mingled with 
Christianity. The later Fathers, almost without exception, 
lived and died unmarried; and nearly all of them wrote 
and preached earnestly in favour of celibacy. It was the 
leading theme of Jerome's exhortations, and he was emi- 
nently successful in gaining converts. 

It was a prevailing belief among ancient nations, and 
was adopted by Plato, that spirits of the dead hovered 


round their burial-place for some time, and afterward fre- 
quently revisited it. Therefore, they were in the habit of 
resorting to their tombs, to offer sacrifices, oblations, and 
prayers for their benefit, and also to invoke their assistance 
in time of need. These opinions were engrafted upon 
Christianity. An ordinance of the church, which continued 
for many centuries, prohibited having lights in graveyards, 
or making merriment there at night, lest the souls that 
came thither should be disturbed. At the celebration of 
the Lord's Supper, which it has already been stated was 
regarded in the light of a sacrifice, each time offered anew 
for mankind, it was customary to intercede for the souls of 
the dead. Husbands, wives, parents, and children, placed 
a gift on the altar at each anniversary of the death of their 
loved ones. And in return, the prayers of the church were 
offered for those who had fallen asleep, and for those who 
celebrated their memory. Individuals who had made do- 
nations to the church were publicly recommended to the 
Lord, by name. 

Ephrem of Edessa, in his last will, requested his friends 
to offer constant oblations for him after his decease. He 
says : " When the thirtieth day shall be completed, then 
remember me; for the dead are helped by the offerings of 
the living." He seems to have supposed that Moses blessed 
the departed spirit of Reuben, though apparently he in- 
tended to bless his posterity, the tribe of Reuben ; for he 
asks : "If the dead are not aided, why was Reuben blessed, 
after the third generation ? Why does Paul say, ' If the 
dead rise not at all, what shall they do who are baptized 
for the dead ? Why are they then baptized for the dead ?' " 
Chrysostom says : " Not without reason was it ordained by 
the Apostles that in celebrating the Sacred Mysteries, the 
dead should be remembered ; for they well knew what ad- 
vantages would thence be derived to them." Cyril of 
Jerusalem says: "When the emperor condemns one to 
banishment, he may be induced to show him favour, if his 
kinsmen present a chaplet in his behalf. So we present to 
God the Christ who was offered for our sins, in behalf of 
Vol. HI.— 15* 


those who :uv asleep, though tl icy were sinners." "Wc 
pray for the holy Fathers, and the Bishops that are dead, 
and for all those wrho hare departed this life in onr com- 
munion; believing that the souls of those for whom our 
prayers are offered receive very great relief, while this holy 
and tremendous victim lies upon the altar," [alluding to 
the bread and wine of tin; eucharist], 

Ii had been a very ancient Hindoo idea that immersion 
in rivers, with religious ceremonies by the priests, purified 
the soul from sin, "as water cleansed the body from mud." 
It has been already stated that Christians imbibed the same 
idee concerning baptism. This belief in the efficacy of an 
external rite produced an increasing tendency to defer it 
till the approach of death ; for it naturally seemed to many 
minds an agreeable and easy process to enjoy the pleasures 
of life to the utmost, and then to have all stains washed 
away in a [aw moments, preparatory to entering upon an- 
other existence. Preachers were continually combatting 
this inevitable tendency, by holding up warning examples 
of death too sudden to admit the performance of the essen- 
tial rite. But their own descriptions of the mysterious 
efficacy of baptism had such a counteracting influence, that 
people generally ventured to run the risk, until frightened 
by an earthquake, or war, or pestilence; and then they 
rushed to baptism in such multitudes, that it was often 
difficult to find priests enough to perform the ceremonies. 
Cyril of Jerusalem, addressing a candidate for baptism, 
sail 1 : "If thou bclievest, thou wilt not only obtain forgive 
ness of sins, but as much of grace as thou canst hold." 
Gregory of Nazianzen says : " Baptism for adults is for- 
giveness of sins, and restoration of the image degraded and 
lost by transgression." In the case of infants, he supposed 
it secured their human nature in the germ from moral evil. 
He calls baptism "a more divine, exalted creation, than 
the original formation of nature." To those who found it 
difficult to conceive how children could be benefitted by a 
rite, of which they had no consciousness, Augustine re- 
plied: "The faith of the church which consecrates infants 


to God, takes the place of their own faith ; and although 
they possess as yet no faith of their own, yet there is no- 
thing in their thoughts to hinder the divine efficacy." 
From the time that Cyprian had decided that children 
ought to be baptized as soon as they were born, because 
they brought with them into the world " the infection of 
the old death" from Adam, the doctrine had been gradually 
gaining ground that all unbaptized infants must be damned. 
The Pelagians expressed horror at this idea. They be- 
lieved that the highest state of perfection and happiness in 
heaven could be attained only by the baptized ; but they 
said those who died in childhood without having been thus 
purified, would remain in an intermediate state, where they 
would be exempt from suffering. Gregory of Nazianzen, 
and some others, believed the same concerning all those 
who remained unbaptized through no fault of their own. 
Augustine rejected this idea. Believing Tertullian's theory 
that the sin of Adam was physically transmitted, he de- 
clared: "There is no innocence in childhood." He said 
only two states could be conceived of; that of blessedness 
in the presence of God, and of misery expelled from Him ; 
that unbaptized infants could not be received into the pre- 
sence of God, and must therefore be irrevocably damned ; 
though their sufferings would doubtless be lighter than 
those inflicted on actual sinners. Some theological writers 
carried out the theory so consistently, that they applied the 
same doctrine to babes that died unborn. It had always 
been a common idea among Christians that devils had pos- 
session of Pagans and heretics. In the third century, it 
began to be customary to repeat over them a form of words, 
called an exorcism, to compel the Evil Spirits to depart, 
preparatory to baptism. After the doctrine of original sin 
became a portion of the established creed, the church used 
the ceremony at the baptism of infants also. A council 
held at Carthage, in the year four hundred and eighteen, 
condemned the doctrine of an intermediate state for unbap- 
tized children, on the ground that nothing could be con- 
ceived of as permanently existing between the kingdom of 


heaven and perdition. The eternal damnation of all who 
died imbaptized was expressly affirmed. But notwith- 
standing the terrors of such preaching, some parents were 
very reluctant to have the ceremony performed on babes; 

for it seemed to them almost a waste of tli'' precious remedy 
to bestow it on those who had committed no actual sin, and 
who, if they lived, would of course commit sins subsequent 
to baptism. To a mother in that state of mind, Gregory 
of Nazianzen said : " Let sin gain no advantage in thy 
child. Let it be sanctified from the swaddling clothes, 
consecrated to the Holy Ghost. You fear for the divine 
seal, because of the weakness of nature. What a feeble 
and faint-hearted mother you must be. Hannah conse- 
crated her Samuel to God even before he was born. Im- 
mediately after his birth, she made him a priest. Instead 
of fearing the frailty of man, she trusted in God." 

People of all religions were accustomed to the idea of 
sacrifice offered as an expiation for sin. Jews who became 
converts to Christianity, accepted the idea that Christ was 
a Lamb slain for atonement, instead of the Paschal Lamb 
annually offered by their High Priest, from time immemo- 
rial. Gentile converts accepted the same idea in lieu of 
the sacrifices with which they had been accustomed to avert 
the anger of their gods. The habit of frequently offering 
sacrifice was supplanted by frequent participation of the 
Lord's Supper, supposed to be the body and blood of 
Christ, each time offered anew for the expiation of sin. In 
consecrating the bread and wine, it was deemed very es- 
sential that the exact words in the Gospel should be used ; 
for it was the universal impression that when the priest 
uttered the words, " This is my body ; this is my blood ;" 
the elements became miraculously changed into the actual 
body of Christ, by means of some inherent power in the 
holy words. When the bishop was about to finish the 
consecration, the curtain, which hung before the altar, was 
drawn up, and he raised the bread and wine, to be adored 
as the body and blood of Christ. Those who partook of it 
were supposed to receive a supernatural infusion of the 


Logos into their own souls and bodies, which imparted to 
them a principle of imperishable life. Gregory of Nyssa 
says : " This bread is instantly changed into the body of 
Christ; agreeably to what he said, 'This is my body.' 
Therefore does the Divine Word commix itself with the 
weak nature of man, that by partaking of the Divinity, 
our humanity may be exalted." He explains it by saying 
that as bread and wine nourished and helped to form the 
body of the Logos while he was on earth, so after his de- 
parture the same elements were changed into his flesh and 
blood by an immediate miracle. Gregory of Nazianzen 
calls the eucharist, "A sacrifice by which we enter into 
fellowship with the sufferings and with the divine nature 
of Christ ; the holy transaction which exalts us to heaven." 
Chrysostom, maintaining that the Holy Supper was the 
full accomplishment of the typical Passover, says : " This 
blood, even in the type, washed away sin. If it had so 
great power in the type, if death were so affrighted by the 
shadow, how he must be frightened by the verity itself!" 
He contemplates this institution as " the greatest proof of 
love Christ gave to dying men, that he should thus unite 
himself to them in the most intimate manner, and cause 
his own flesh and blood to pass into their entire nature ; 
that he gave himself not only to be seen and touched, but 
to be eaten by those who desire him." He says : " As 
many of you as partake of this body, as many of you as 
taste this blood, should think of it as nothing different from 
that which sits above, and is adored by angels." Cyril of 
Jerusalem says : " After the Holy Spirit has been invoked, 
the eucharistic bread is no longer common bread, but is the 
body of Christ. He himself declared, L This is my body/ 
and who shall dare to doubt it ?" " Christ changed water 
into wine, by his will only ; and shall we think him less 
worthy of credit, when he changes wine into blood?" 
Jerome says : " Our Lord Jesus invites us to the feast, and 
is himself our meat. He eats with us, and we eat him." 
Augustine says: "Because he walked here in the flesh, 
he gave us this same flesh to eat, for our salvation. No 


one eateth this flesh without having first adored it. We 
not only commit no sin by adoring it, but we should sin 
by not adoring it." Eusebius of Cresarea, whose mind had 
been much influenced by the writings of Origen, takes a 
more spiritual view of the subject. He represents Christ 
as saying : " Think not I bid you drink my bodily blood ; 
but know that the words I have spoken to you are spirit 
and life ; so that my words and doctrines are my flesh and 
blood. He who appropriates to himself these, becomes 
nourished with bread from heaven r and will be made a 
partaker of eternal life." It was the opinion of the Fathers, 
that the eucharist was as essential to the salvation of in- 
fants, as was the rite of baptism. Therefore it was always 
administered to baptized children, till after the sixth 

In all religions, great account was made of Mysteries. 
Among ther Jews r none but the High Priest ever went be- 
hind the veil of the Holy of Holies. If any other person 
had ventured to do it, the people would have expected to 
see him drop down dead. When Grecians celebrated the 
Eleusinian Mysteries, a herald proclaimed: " Go hence, all 
ye profane!" a form which dismissed all but the initiated. 
Christianity, while seeking to establish itself, naturally 
adopted new forms of whatever ideas or customs were 
strongly rooted in the minds of men. The celebration of 
the Lord's Supper was represented as a Sacred Mystery. 
Before the veil was withdrawn from the altar, a deacon 
proclaimed : " Holy things to holy men. Depart all ye 
catechumens !" a form which dismissed all but the baptized. 
The doctrine of the Trinity likewise was not discussed or 
explained in their presence. There was a public and a 
private doctrine, according to the general custom of philo- 
sophers. Cyril of Jerusalem says: "We do not declare 
the Mysteries concerning the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 
to the Gentiles ; nor do we speak plainly to the catechu- 
mens about those Mysteries. But we may say many things 
in an occult way, that the faithful, who know them, may 
understand, while those who do not understand them can 


not be Imrt thereby." Augustine says: "If we asked a 
catechumen, 'Dost thou eat the flesh, and drink the blood 
of the Son of Man ?' he would not know what we mean ; 
for Christ has not committed himself to them. They do 
not know what Christians receive." Chrysostom, alluding 
to the eucharist in the light of a sacrifice offered, says: 
" Truly tremendous are the Mysteries of the church ! 
Truly tremendous are the altars!" Some of the Fathers 
style it "the awful solemnity;" "sublime in the eyes of 
angels." Jerome says : " The very chalices, and coverings 
of the mystic table, are not to be considered like things 
inanimate and void of sanctity ; but they ought to be 
reverenced as much as his body and his blood." It was 
customary to allude to the subject in a very blind way, in 
the presence of the uninitiated. Augustine says : " Christ 
was held in his own hands. How was he held in his own 
hands ? Because when he gave his own body and blood, 
he took into his hands — what the faithful know." Epi- 
phanius says : " We see that our Lord took something in 
his hands; that he rose from table, and having given 
thanks, he said : ' This is my somewhat.' " After alluding 
to the Trinity or the Eucharist, in this mysterious manner, 
it was common to add : " Those who are initiated know 
what has been said." The Fathers assign as one reason 
for pursuing this course, that young Christians were thereby 
stirred up to greater eagerness to be admitted into the 
mysteries of baptism and the Lord's Supper. Another 
motive was to preserve the sacredness and dignity of 
religion. Basil says: " A thing cannot be properly called 
a Mystery when it is once exposed to every common 

Numerous miracles were ascribed to the eucharist. Am- 
brose tells of an intimate friend of his, a pious Christian, 
but one who had not yet been admitted to the more perfect 
Mysteries. Being wrecked on a voyage to Africa, he 
begged some of the initiated, who were on board, to give 
him a portion of their consecrated bread; without the 
presence of which no voyage, or journey, was considered 


safe. Having received a piece, he fastened it in a hand- 
kerchief, tied it about his neck, and plunged into the sea, 
without troubling himself to look for a plank. " For he 
wanted nothing more than the armour of his faith. Nor 
did his hopes deceive him ; for he was the first of the ship's 
company, who got safely to the shore." Augustine tells 
of a country-house near Hippo which was haunted. But 
when a priest went and "offered the sacrifice of Christ's 
body on the spot," praying fervently that the vexation 
might be removed, it instantly ceased. 

It is obvious that some of the opinions and customs of 
the church cannot be traced either to the Jewish or the 
Christian Scriptures. All such were sustained upon the 
authority of tradition from the early Fathers. Epiphanius 
says : " We must look also to tradition ; for all things can- 
not be learned from the Scriptures." Basil says: "In my 
opinion, it is apostolical to adhere to unwritten traditions." 
" The Apostles and Fathers, who prescribed from the be- 
ginning certain rites to the church, knew how to preserve 
the dignity of the Mysteries, by the secrecy and silence in 
which they enveloped them. What is open to the eye and 
the ear is no longer mysterious. For this» reason, several 
things have been handed down to us without writing ; lest 
the vulgar, by becoming too familiar with our dogmas, 
should pass from being accustomed to them to contempt 
for them." Chrysostom says : " The Apostles did not de- 
liver all things by means of epistles. They made many 
communications without writing. Both are equally enti- 
tled to belief. It is a tradition. Inquire no further." 

The later Fathers were as devotional in their habits, as 
their predecessors had been. They always washed their 
hands before entering a church ; and required kings to lay 
down their armour and their crowns at the door, and leave 
their guards behind them. They fasted often, and prayed 
three times a day. They prayed and sang Psalms before 
and after eating, and never drank without making a sign 
of the cross over the cup. Chrysostom says : " The Devil 
is never so ready to ensnare us, as at meals ; either by in* 


temperance, Indolence, or immoderate mirth; therefore, 
both before and after eating, we should fortify ourselves 
with Psalms." 

The bond between Christians was exceedingly strong. 
They were always ready to assist each other in poverty, 
sickness, and trouble. The Pagans were continually sur- 
prised to see men of totally different education and habits, 
sympathizing with each other, and relying upon each other, 
like brothers of the same family. If fierce denunciations 
and bitter persecution of all who differed from them in 
theological doctrines excited the remark, "How these 
Christians hate each other," their unstinted, kindness and 
truly fraternal feeling toward all within the fold excited 
the general remark how Christians loved each other. And 
their benevolence flowed copiously, not only to their own 
communities, near and distant, but also to poor and suffer- 
ing strangers. To them the Roman empire owed its first 
asylums for widows and orphans, the sick and the indigent. 
Even the Emperor Julian set them up as an example in these 
respects, worthy of all imitation. It was a common custom 
to appoint fasts when any of the sister churches needed 
assistance, and the money saved from food enabled even 
the poorest to contribute something toward their relief. In 
times of sickness, their courageous kindness is said to have 
furnished a striking contrast to their Pagan neighbours, 
who had no such central bond of union. Dionysius, Bishop 
of Alexandria, describing a pestilence in that city, says: 
" It was true of most of our brethren, that in the fulness 
of their brotherly love, they spared not themselves. Their 
only anxiety was a mutual one for each other. And as 
they waited on the sick without thinking of themselves, 
ministering to their wants for Christ's sake, so they cheer- 
fully gave up their lives for them. Many who took the 
bodies of Christian brethren into their arms, and to their 
bosoms, composed their features, and buried them with all 
possible care, afterward followed them in death. Some of 
the best among our brethren, presbyters, deacons, and dis- 
tinguished men of the laity, thus ended their lives ; so that 
Vol, in.— 16 


the manner of their death being the fruit of such eminent 
piety and mighty faith, Beemed no1 to fall short of martyr- 
dom. With the Pagans it was quite otherwise. They 

drove from thern those who showed the firsl Bymptoms of 
disease ; and fled from their dearest friends. They cast the 
half dead into the streets, and left the dead unburied ; 
making it their chief care to avoid contagion." Chrysos- 
tom records that in his time the church at Antioch, which 
consisted of about one hundred thousand persons, daily 
maintained three thousand widows and orphans, besides 
supporting the clergy, and the hospitals, assisting strangers 
in distress, and ransoming many Christian slaves. Basil 
the Great established in all the principal towns of his dio- 
cese institutions for the reception of indigent strangers, and 
the care of the sick. Physicians and nurses were in attend- 
ance, and every arrangement made for the comfort of the 
inmates. Workshops were provided for all the labourers 
and artisans that were needed ; so that each establishment 
was described as having the appearance of a small town. 
"When the brother of Basil died, he left this brief testament : 
" I will that all my estate be given to the poor." Paulinus, 
Bishop of Treves, in the fourth century, was very wealthy ; 
but when he became a Christian, he sold all his vast estates, 
and distributed the proceeds among the poor. Theodorct, 
Bishop of Cyros, at about the same period, though he had 
a poor diocese, saved enough to construct a canal from the 
Euphrates to the town, which had previously suffered for 
want of water ; to repair and improve the public baths ; to 
erect two porticoes for the use of the city ; and to build 
two large bridges. Ambrose sold the ornaments, and even 
sacred vessels of the churches to redeem Christians, who 
had been taken in war, and sold into slavery. He says : 
" The church possesses gold, not to treasure it up, but to 
distribute it for the welfare and happiness of men. We are 
ransoming souls from eternal perdition. It is not merely 
the lives of men and the honour of women, that are endan- 
gered by captivity, but also the faith of their children. 
The blood of redemption, which has glowed in those golden 


cups, has sanctified them not merely for that service, but 
for the redemption of men." 

The Bishop of Kola expended his whole estate to redeem 
as many as he could. At last, a poor widow went to him 
and intreated him to rescue her only son, who had been 
sold to a prince of the Vandals. He told her he had not a 
single penny left, but he would freely give himself as a 
ransom. The poor woman thought he was jesting with 
her anxiety ; but he assured her that he was in earnest. 
Accordingly, he accompanied her to Africa and begged 
the prince to release the young man, because he was the 
only son of a widow; offering to labour freely in his stead. 
The prince accepted his proposition, and employed him to 
work in his garden. His industry and faithfulness gained 
the favour of his master, who, after some time, discovered 
that he had been a bishop. Impressed by the greatness of 
such an example, the prince gave him his liberty, and 
promised to grant whatsoever he wished. The good man 
asked no favour for himself, but begged the release of all 
his countrymen in bondage. They were accordingly all 
sent home in ships laden with provisions. 

Christians had the same feeling as the Israelites of old 
concerning allowing their own brethren to be in slavery ; 
and a similar degree of exclusiveness led them generally 
not to include Pagan bondmen within the circle of their 
sympathies. It early began to be the feeling that one 
Christian ought not to hold another as a slave ; the rela- 
tion, even under the best circumstances, seeming inconsist- 
ent with Christian brotherhood. Many converts emanci- 
pated all their slaves as soon as they joined the church, 
being impelled by their own consciences, though no eccle- 
siastical law required it. When slaves were converted, it 
was common for Christian masters to emancipate them ; 
so that baptism came to be considered a sign of freedom. 
Among the crowds of nominal professors, after Christianity 
became the established religion, there were of course many 
who were entirely uninfluenced by its spirit. The Arch- 
bishop of Eavenna, in the fifth century, complains of such, 


who could scarcely be distinguished from the hardest mas- 
ters among the Pagans, in their treatment of slaves. But 
as a genera] thing, the difference 1 and the 

new religion was verj striking on this point. Lactaotiue 
says: "We may be asked, are there not among you rich 
and poor, masters and slaves, distinctions of rank between 
individuals? Not at all. No reason can he assigned why 
we call one another brethren, except that we consider our- 
selves equals. We measure human beings by their souls, 
not by their bodies. There is diversity in the condition 
of bodies; but to us none are slaves. We address all as 
brothers in the Spirit, and regard all as fellow -servants, in 
a religious sense." Chrysostom says: "In the bosom of 
the Christian church, there are no slaves, in the old sense 
of the word. The name exists, but the thing has ceased." 
" The slave glorifies Jesus Christ as his master, and the 
master acknowledges himself a slave of Jesus Christ. Both 
are subjects, both are free in this common obedience; they 
are equals, both as freemen and as slaves." In another 
place, he exhorts Christians to "buy up slaves, instruct 
them in the arts, and give them the means of livelihood." 
Chromacius, Prsefect of Rome, who was converted during 
the reign of Diocletian, was baptized with fourteen hun- 
dred of his slaves, to whom he gave freedom, saying: 
" These, who are the children of God, ought to be no longer 
the slaves of men." He crowned this act of justice and hu- 
manity by taking paternal care concerning their means of 


Nearly all the writings of the Fathers consisted of sec- 
tarian controversy, Biblical interpretation employed in its 
service, and fervent exhortations to celibacy ; but some 
precious gems of morality, scattered about, indicate that 
the world was rising to a higher level of humanity than it 
ever attained under the pure and elevated, but unsympa- 
thizing teaching of the Platonic school. The following 
brief extracts will serve as specimens : 


" God, who creates and inspires men, willed that they 
should be equal. He made them all capable of wisdom, 
imposed the same laws on all, and promised immortality 
to al].. No one is excluded from his heavenly gifts. He 
makes the sun to shine equally on all, and the fountains to 
issue freely for all. As he furnishes food for all, and gives 
the sweet repose of sleep unto all, so does he give virtue 
and equality to all. With Him, no one is a slave, and no 
one master. He is the Father of all, and we are all, by 
equal right, his children. In his sight, no man is poor, but 
him who is wanting in goodness ; and no man is rich, but 
him who abounds in virtues." — Lactantius. 

" The poor shake with cold beneath their miserable rags, 
while we envelope ourselves in long floating robes of the 
finest silk. The poor can scarcely find a refuse morsel 
wherewith to appease the cravings of hunger; while we 
luxuriate in the choicest delicacies. We lavish the most 
delicate odours, as if our courage were not already suffi- 
ciently enervated. Our tables bend beneath dishes, for 
which all the elements have been laid under contribution ; 
and all this is done to satisfy the avidity of an ungrateful 
stomach, an insatiable brute, which will soon be destroyed, 
together with the perishable viands that are accumulated 
to nourish it. The poor would think themselves happy to 
get water enough to quench their thirst; and we drink wine 
to excess, even while we feel our senses disordered by its 
potency. My brethren, these diseases of the soul, which 
infect the rich, are more grievous than the bodily infirmi- 
ties that afflict the poor. Theirs are not of their own seek- 
ing; ours are what we bring upon ourselves. Death will 
deliver them from theirs ; ours will go with us to the grave, 
and rise with us." — Gregory of Nazianzen. 

" Since you alone are amenable for your own vices, or 
follies, what good does it do to talk of your forefathers, and 
rake up the ashes of the dead ? One man may draw forth 
nothing but discordant sounds from a golden harp ; another 
will give birth to ravishing melodies on a simple reed. 
Such is your history, my friend. You descended from an 
Vol. IJL— 16* 


illustrious race, which is to you as the harp of gold. But 

m have DO merit in yourself, upon what can you build 

What real subjecl of exaltation canyon find 

yourself in ancestors long since dead 7 What is all that 

to us? It is with yourself alone we have to do. Are you 
good, or are you bad ? Every thing is reduced to that sim- 
ple question." — Gregory of Nazianzi n. 

"What was I before I was born? What am I now? 
What shall I be to-morrow ? I asked the learned to guide 
me, but I found no one who knew any more than myself. 
I exist. What does that word mean ? Already, whilst I 
speak, a portion of my existence has escaped me. I am 
no longer what I was. Should I still exist, what shall I 
be to-morrow? In no one thing permanent, I resemble 
the water of a stream, perpetually flowing on, which noth- 
ing stops. Like the brook, in another moment I shall no 
longer be the same I was a moment before. I ought to be 
called by some other name. You seize me, now you hold 
me, yet I escape. Fugitive wave ! never again will you 
traverse the space over which you have already flowed. 
The same man, whom you have once reflected in your wa- 
ters, will never be reflected by them again, exactly as he 
looked in them before." — Gregory of Nazianzen. 

" Why is it that you are rich, and your neighbour poor? 
Is it not that you may sanctify your abundance by your 
benevolence, while he may sanctify poverty by patience 
and resignation ? Do not deceive yourself with respect to 
the ways of Providence. The bread that you keep shut 
up belongs to the hungry. The shoes which you hoard 
belong to the barefoot. To withhold assistance from those 
who are in need, when you have the means of relieving 
them, is not only cruel, it is unjust." — Basil the Great 

"Has any one made use of injurious expressions con- 
cerning you ? Reply to them by blessings. Does he treat 
you ill ? Be patient. Does he reproach you ? Condemn 
yourself, if the reproach be just; if not, it is a mere breath 
of air. Flattery cannot impart to you a merit, if you have 
it not, nor can calumny give you faults you do not really 


possess. Are you accused of ignorance? You. justify the 
charge by showing yourself angry. Are you persecuted? 
Think of Jesus Christ. Can you ever suffer as he suf- 
fered ?" — Basil the Great 

"The slanderer does injury to three persons at once. 
To him of whom he speaks ill ; to him to whom he says 
it; and most of all to himself in saying it." — Basil the 

" Is it a misfortune to pass from infancy to youth ? Still 
less can it be a misfortune to go from this miserable life to 
that true life into which we are introduced by death. Our 
first changes are connected with the progressive develope- 
ment of life. The new change, which death effects, is only 
the passage to a more desirable perfection. To complain 
of the necessity of dying, is to accuse Nature of not having 
condemned us to perpetual infancy." — Gregory of Nyssa. 

" 'I possessed myself of servants and maids.' Possessed, 
do you say ? Who can be the possessor of human beings, 
save God? By what right can any other claim possession 
of them ? Those men that you say belong to you, did not 
God create them free ? Command the brute creation ; it is 
well and good. But do not degrade the image of God ! 
Bend the beasts of the field beneath your yoke. But are 
your fellow men to be bought and sold, like herds of cattle? 
"Who can pay the value of a being created in the image of 
God ? The whole world itself bears no proportion to the 
value of a soul, on which the Most High has set the seal 
of his likeness. This world will perish ; but the soul of 
man is immortal. Show me then your titles of possession. 
Whence have you received this strange privilege ? Is not 
your own nature the same with that of those whom you 
call your slaves? Have they not the same origin with 
yourself? Are they not born to the same destinies?" — 
Gregory of Nyssa. 

" All the immense space by which we are surrounded is 
peopled with angels, whose eyes are continually turned to- 
ward us. The most hardened in wickedness still shrinks 
from observation. The thought that he is watched checks 


the criminal in the fury of his passion. Can the Christian 
then, who knows that celestial Spirits not only behold his 
every action, but also read his most secret thoughts, can In; 
ever, in mere levity and thoughtlessness, deliver himself 
up to evil?" — Hilary of Poicliers. 

11 There is always something of injustice and inhumanity 
in the possession of immense wealth, however legitimate 
the possession of it may be in point of law, and however 
honest in the sight of man may be the means by which it 
was acquired." — Ambrose of Milan. 

11 There are certain persons, not altogether asleep in ig- 
norance, nor yet fully awake in the light of reason, who 
hold that right is nothing but that which is commonly re- 
ceived. Since laws and customs differ, they conclude that 
there is nothing binding in its own nature ; but that what- 
soever a man is persuaded of in his own mind, the same 
must be right and good. These people have not yet 
looked far enough into the world to discover that all 
nations under heaven accept, as a standard, the maxim, 
1 Do unto others, as ye would they should do unto you.' " — 

" Blessed is he who loveth God ; and his friend in God ; 
and his enemy for God." — Augustine. 

"Your very existence is. not your own. How is it then 
that your riches are ? They belong rather to those foi 
whom God has given them into your keeping. Wealth is 
a common property, like the light of the sun, the air, or 
the productions of the earth. Riches are to society what 
food is to the body. Should any one of the members 
absorb the nutriment which is intended for the support of 
the whole, the body would perish utterly ; for it is held 
together only by the requisite distribution of nourishment 
to the divers parts. In the same manner, the general har- 
mony of society is maintained only by the interchange of 
services between the rich and the poor." — John Chrysostom. 

" Nobility consists not in illustrious ancestry, but in the 
virtues of the soul. T call the slave a patrician, though 
bound in chains, if I know his soul to be noble; and I 


deem the patrician a slave, though invested with outward 
dignity, if he has an ignoble mind." " How many drunken 
patricians lie stupified on their couches, while their sober 
servants stand by. Which of these ought to be called a 
slave ? Should the term be applied to him who has been 
made captive by man, or to him who is the slave of his 
passions? One is enslaved by external circumstances; 
the other carries about his slavery within him." "Let 
there be no wall of separation between freemen and slaves. 
It is better that they should serve one another ; for mutual 
service is preferable to an exclusive and solitary liberty. 
Suppose a master to own a hundred slaves, who all serve 
him with repugnance ; and then suppose a hundred souls, 
who help each other from affection. On which side will 
there be most happiness ? On which will life be the most 
lovely ? On the first, is misery and fear ; everything being 
effected by force, and done from necessity. On the other, 
vengeance is banished, and all comes from free-will, be- 
nevolence, and gratitude. Such is the order of God. He 
himself washed the feet of his disciples, and said : ' Let him 
who would be your master, be your servant.' " 


Sunday and the Sabbath. — As the separation from 
Judaism increased, the custom of observing both their Sab- 
bath and Sunday gradually changed. But even as late as 
the year three hundred and sixty, a Council at Laodicea 
deemed it necessary to forbid Christians to abstain from 
labour on the Sabbath, [Saturday.] In connection with 
this decree, they remark : " Christians ought not to Judaize 
and cease from labour on the Sabbath. They ought to 
work on that day. As Christians, they should prefer to 
rest from labour, if they can, on the Lord's Day," [Sunday.] 
Laws stricter than those of Constantine were passed by his 
successors. Civil transactions of every kind were forbidden 
on Sunday, as sacrilegious. In four hundred and twenty- 
five, Jews and Pagans were required to abstain from thea- 


tres and festivals on that day, because the noise in the 
streets disturbed the devotions of those assembled in the 
churches. Neander, the learned inquirer into Ecclesiasti- 
cal History, says: "The celebration of Sunday, like that 
of every festival, was a human institution. Far was it from 
the Apostles to treat it as a divine command; far from 
them, and from the first apostolic church, to transfer the 
laws of the Sabbath to Sunday." 

Agape. — It has been already mentioned that the Feast 
called Agape gradually changed its character, as the num- 
ber of worldly Christians increased. The fraternal kiss, 
with which it had been customary to separate in the good 
old times of affectionate simplicity, probably led to some 
abuses among those who were not pure of heart. At all 
events, many scandalous stories concerning these meetings 
were circulated by Pagan opponents, and by Gnostic as- 
cetics. To prevent this, the church ordained that men 
should confine the customary salutation to the brethren 
only, and women to the sisters. At that period of the 
world, it was the common practice to eat in a half reclining 
posture; but the church ordered them to dispense with 
couches at the Agape. Notwithstanding these, and other 
restraining laws, intemperance and excess became so noto- 
rious, that the Council at Carthage, in three hundred ninety 
seven, forbade these feasts to be held in churches; con- 
sidering them a desecration of the holy place. The Fathers 
everywhere preached against them, and they were finally 
laid aside. 

Festival of the Martyrs. — The great annual Festival 
among the Pagans for the Souls of all their Ancestors, had 
been adopted by Gregory Thaumaturgus, as a matter of 
policy, and appropriated to the honour of All the Martyrs. 
Gregory of Nyssa, in his life of that proselyting bishop, 
says : " The Pagans were delighted with the festivals of 
their gods, and unwilling to part with those delights. 
Therefore, Gregory, to facilitate their conversion, instituted 


annual festivals to saints and martyrs." On these occasions, 
a great banquet was provided, and dances and pantomimes 
introduced, as had been the custom in the Pagan Paren- 
talia. The gathering-place was usually at, or near the 
tomb, or chapel, of some celebrated martyr, where prayers 
were offered, and hymns sung in honour of the dead. The 
roads, for many miles round, were crowded with pilgrims, 
who went to implore the martyrs to send them good 
weather, abundant crops, smooth seas, and healthy chil- 
dren; to protect them from diseases or accidents during 
the year, and if they died, to bear their souls into the 
bosom of Christ, and intercede for them at the last day. 
On account of the great concourse of people, it was cus- 
tomary to have markets, or fairs, established near by, for 
the sale of provisions, and other conveniences, consequently 
a large proportion of the assembly was brought together 
merely for purposes of merriment or traffic. Some of the 
less strict among the bishops sanctioned the scene by their 
presence, after the religious portion of the ceremonies was 
completed ; but their influence was not sufficient to restrain 
excesses. The health of the martyrs was often drunk to 
complete intoxication. Gregory of Nazianzen and Chry- 
sostom severely denounced the luxury with which this 
festival was celebrated at Antioch. Many of the clergy 
strongly disapproved of the practice ; but it was exceed- 
ingly difficult to wean the people from the old customs, 
which had become universally engrafted on the new faith. 
Basil preached against such scenes as altogether unsuitable 
to the solemnity of the subject, and of the places where 
they assembled. He reminded the people that they ought 
to remember how Christ whipped out buyers and sellers 
from the House of Prayer. As the rich, on these occasions, 
furnished provisions, of which the poor partook freely, the 
feast was often called by the old name of Agape ; which 
was thus brought into still greater disrepute among oppo- 
nents of the church. The Council of Laodicea formally 
condemned these festivals ; but it was a long time before 
they were suppressed. The Manicheans, who were very 


abstemious in their habits, and extremely simple in their 
mode of worship, frequently taunted Catholic Christians 
with their festivals, and multiplication of ceremonies. 
They said : " You have but substituted your Agape for 
the Pagan sacrifices. In the place of their idols, you have 
set up your martyrs, whom you worship with the same 
ceremonies they did their gods. Like them, you appease 
the souls of the dead with wine and with meat offerings." 

Lent and Easter. — In addition to the weekly fasts on 
Wednesday and Friday, Christians held, an annual fast 
preceding the first full moon after the vernal equinox. It 
was variously observed in different times and places. 
Some fasted several days, others abstained from animal 
food during several weeks. It was immediately followed 
by the joyful festivities of Easter, the most ancient Chris- 
tian festival on record ; being a continuation of the Pass- 
over, to which the Apostles, and Jewish converts, had 
always been accustomed. In the East, the members of 
churches assembled in grave-yards, on the Friday preced- 
ing the joyful Sunday, to commemorate the crucifixion. 
During the Festival of Easter, Constantine the Great re- 
leased all prisoners, except those who had committed very 
great crimes ; and he always distributed large donations 
among the poor. Theodosius the Great ordained that no 
lawsuits should be commenced, no accusations should be 
brought, and no punishments inflicted, during the continu- 
ance of the holy season. After the time of Constantine, 
this festival was observed with great pomp. On the even- 
ing preceding Easter Sunday, all the churches and the 
principal houses were brilliantly illuminated; people 
poured through the streets with torches, and vigils were 
kept in the churches till the morning dawned. The next 
day, all the churches resounded with Hallelujahs, and 
friends and relatives feasted at each other's houses. The 
holy season began on Palm Sunday, a week before Easter, 
and continued till the Sunday after Easter; including 
fourteen days. Not only the Jews, but all the ancient 


nations, kept a festival near the vernal equinox, to wel- 
come in the budding spring-time with thank-offerings to 
their gods. The Saxon word Oster means rising ; and the 
German word Osten means the east, in allusion to the sun's 
rising. The Saxons had a season of thanksgiving in the 
spring, which they named Ostern, in honour of the old 
Teutonic Goddess of Nature, called Ostera. This is sup- 
posed to be the origin of the English name Easter, applied 
to the Christian festival in honour of Christ's rising. The 
French call it Paques, and Italians Pasqua ; in allusion to 
the Paschal Lamb slain at the Passover. It was early 
customary for the Bishops of Eome to distribute the re- 
mains of the tapers consecrated on Easter Eve. The people 
burned them at home, as a preservation against all manner 
of misfortunes. 

Whitsunday. — The Jewish Pentecost was likewise re- 
tained by Christians, but kept by them in commemoration 
of the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples. As 
the Holy Spirit was supposed to be imparted by baptism, 
the day was peculiarly appropriated to the performance of 
that ceremony. The numerous candidates who assembled, 
being clothed in white robes, made a conspicuous show on 
the margin of rivers and ponds. Hence the festival came 
to be called White Sunday, or Whitsunday. 

Epiphany. — Egyptians observed the sixth of January, 
as a joyful festival in honour of Osiris found ; probably in 
allusion to the sun returning from the winter solstice. 
Christians in some countries adopted this festival. They 
at first kept it in commemoration of the Star which guided 
the Wise Men of the East ; and presents were interchanged 
on that day, said to be in allusion to the offerings of the 
Magi ; though in fact that custom, as well as the festival 
itself, was of much more ancient date than the birth of 
Christ. The Ebionite " Gospel according to the Hebrews" 
commenced at the baptism of Christ; and declared that 
when Jesus entered the water, " straightway a great light 
Vol. III.— 17 i 


shone round the place." Justin Martyr, who probably 
derived the idea from that source, says that "a hre was 
kindled in the Jordan." Ilence, the Eastern churches 
often railed baptism Illumination. After a time, the sixth 
of January, instead of being observed by Christians in 
honour of the miraculous star, was supposed to be the very 
day on which Christ was baptized ; when " all the persons 
of the Trinity were present. The Father in a voice from 
heaven ; the Son in the person of Jesus ; and the Holy 
Spirit in the visible shape of a dove." In some places, 
many torches and fires were lighted during the celebration, 
to commemorate the star that guided the Magi to Bethle- 
hem, the light that shone round the shepherds, and the fire 
11 kindled in the Jordan." At Constantinople, it was ori- 
ginally called the Feast of Lights. It afterward received 
the name of Epiphany, from Greek words signifying The 
Appearance, or the Manifestation ; because the Holy Ghost 
appeared at the baptism, and Christ was for the first time 
manifested as the Messiah. Chrysostom relates that during 
this festival people were accustomed to draw water at 
midnight, and preserve it carefully, believing it to possess 
certain miraculous powers ; because Christ, by going into 
the Jordan, " sanctified water to the mystical washing away 
of sin." He affirms that water drawn at that holy season 
would keep pure a whole year ; sometimes two or three 

Christmas. — Most of the ancient nations observed sea- 
sons of rejoicing when the sun began to return from the 
winter solstice. Egyptians had two festivals of this kind ; 
one on the twenty-fifth day of December, to commemorate 
the birth-day of the infant Horus, and the other on the 
sixth of January, to rejoice over the lost Osiris found. 
Persians kept a festival on the twenty -fifth of December, 
in honour of Mithras, the attendant Spirit of the Sun. At 
Kome, there was a series of festivals in the latter part of 
December. There was the Saturnalia, in commemoration 
of the Golden Age of Saturn, when all distinctions of rank 


were abolished and the earth was filled with abundance. 
On this occasion, relatives and friends feasted each other, 
and interchanged presents. There was the Festival for 
Children, during which it was customary to give children 
little images. The twenty-fifth day of December was cele- 
brated under the name of Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, The 
Birth Day of the Invincible Sun. It is not known at what 
season of the year Christ was born, and the custom of keep- 
ing his nativity is not mentioned till the second century, 
when it was observed by the Eastern churches on the sixth 
of January. In the Western part of the empire, the Roman 
Birth Day of the Sun, the twenty-fifth of December, be- 
gan, in the middle of the fourth century, to be observed 
in honour of the nativity of Christ. The Eastern churches 
continued their old custom for some time after ; but in the 
fifth century, the twenty-fifth of December was established, 
by decree of the church, as a festival to be universally 
observed. The Roman people had been attached to this 
holiday, from very ancient times ; and it was deemed pecu- 
liarly appropriate to transfer it to the honour of Christ, who 
was called " the sun of righteousness," and often compared 
to the natural sun, illuminating a world in darkness. The 
Gospel of Luke represents Christ as born in the night ; it 
was therefore customary to have the churches lighted up, 
and public worship performed the midnight preceding. 
The prayers and ceremonies, accompanying the eucharist 
were called Mass ; hence the festival came to be denomi- 
nated Christmas. Manicheans and other heretical sects, 
reproached the Catholics for observing the Birth Day of 
the Sun, with the Pagans. Leo the Great, Patriarch of 
Rome, in the middle of the fifth century, complains that in 
his time many Christians retained the Pagan custom of 
paying obeisance to the rising sun, from some lofty emi- 
nence ; also in the morning, when they were ascending the 
steps of St. Peter's church. Theoclosius the Younger pro- 
hibited games at Easter, Whitsunday, Christmas, and 
Epiphany ; and ordered all the theatres to be closed, not 
only for Christians, but for Jews and Pagans. 



The preceding pages have shown how the simple church 
government ID the clays of the Apostles had changed, when 
Cyprian maintained that bishops were supreme arbiters of 

theological truth. Early in the second century it began to 
be the custom for country churches to unite themselves to 
some church in a neighbouring city, which was thus con- 
stituted their head. Sometimes several churches in the 
same city united themselves under the guidance of one, 
and formed what was called a Metropolitan church. The 
Metropolitan Bishop presided over inferior bishops and 
clergy, when they came from the country to attend a coun- 
cil in the city where he resided ; and all the clergy of his 
province were required to refer to him for advice, in any 
cases of difficulty ; hence he came to be called Archbishop, 
or Chief Bishop. From the beginning of the fifth century, 
the Archbishops of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, 
Antioch, and Jerusalem, began to take the title of Patri- 
archs ; and to them was conceded the power of supervision 
over all the other bishops and archbishops within their 
jurisdiction. In almost every difficulty that occurred, 
Rome, the representative of the West, took one side, and 
ConstantinojDle, the representative of the East, took the 
other. The supremacy of Rome was strongly urged, on 
the ground that the first church there was established by 
Peter, to whom Christ had said : " On this rock will I found 
my church." By the middle of the fifth century, it was 
decided by decrees of councils, and of the emperor, that 
the Patriarch of Rome was the last tribunal of appeal ; and 
that the Patriarch of Constantinople was to take the second 
rank in Christendom. The increasing power of Rome was 
of course watched with jealousy by her old rival. The 
Eastern churches frequently rebelled against the decisions 
of the Primate; and even in the West, where alone his 
edicts had the force of law, they often met with strenuous 
opposition, till as late as the eighth century. As early as 
the time of Cyprian, it began to be customary to call all 


bishops Papas, a title of respect, from a Greek word signi- 
fying Father. This was the origin of the English word 
Pope ; which was not exclusively applied to the Koman 
Pontiff till the eleventh century. After the fourth cen- 
tury, bishops were often nominated by the emperor, in- 
stead of being elected by the people, as they had previously 

Deaconesses, before entering upon their office, were 
originally ordained, like others of the clerg}^ ; but as the 
clerical order increased in dignity, the priesthood began to 
declare against this custom. Synods in the fourth and 
fifth centuries forbade the ordination of women ; and those 
who had been previously ordained were required to re- 
ceive the bishops' blessing in company with the laity, not 
with the clergy. 

The belief that the Holy Spirit was transmitted by the 
imposition of hands at ordination led many to attach little 
importance to any preparation for the priesthood. This 
idea, combined with the tendency to consider mere exter- 
nal rites sufficient for salvation, produced an increasing 
contempt for intellectual culture. To have received the 
Holy Ghost, and to be able to perform ceremonies, was 
deemed sufficient for a priest. The more eminent teachers 
of the church, such as Basil and the two Gregories, sought 
to counteract this tendency, by representing human learn- 
ing as a valuable servant to divine truth ; but they were 
exceptions to the general rule. 

In the first centuries of Christian^, the clergy married, 
if they chose ; considering themselves sustained by the 
opinions of the early Fathers, and the example of the 
Apostles. Gregory of Nazianzen was born after his father 
was a bishop. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, and Hilary, 
Bishop of Poictiers were married. Eusebius, the historian, 
mentions numerous instances of married bishops sffid pres- 
byters. Augustine also speaks of Catholic clergymen in 
his time, who had wives. For the first three hundred 
years, there was no ecclesiastical law or regulation to en- 
force celibacy of the priesthood. But a large proportion 
Vol. HI.— 17* 


of the most eminent of the later Fathers, sustained celibacy 
by eloquent writings and their own example; and monks 
were so venerated by the populace, for their superior Bane- 

tity, that it seemed to a make a similar degree of holiness 
desirable, if not necessary, to all the clergy. The feeling 
first showed itself in opposition to second marriages. Any 
one in holy orders, even a clerk or a deacon, was imme- 
diately ejected from office, if he married a widow. At the 
Council of Nice, it was a disputed point whether those 
who had been married previous to their consecration, should 
be required to put away their wives. Paphnutius, the 
aged Bishop of Upper Thebais, himself unmarried, main- 
tained that it was sufficient for the clergy to be required 
not to marry after their consecration ; and his advice pre- 
vailed. Eustathius and his followers refused to receive 
the sacrament from any but an unmarried clergyman. On 
the other hand, Jovinian and Yigilantius disapproved of 
these oriental ideas concerning the sinfulness of marriage, 
which they said were not sustained by the teaching of 
Christ, or the example of his Apostles, and in their prac- 
tical effect were unfavourable to morality. Some, even 
among the bishops, thought such rigid rules likely to pro- 
duce secret vice, and, therefore, they refused to ordain 
unmarried deacons. But the Bishop of Eome, at the close 
of the fourth century, issued a letter positively forbidding 
any clergymen of the higher orders to live with their 
wives. A man of thirty years old, who had not married 
a widow, and who had had but one wife, might be a sub- 
deacon. If he lived ten years in strict continence, he 
might become a priest. If he lived ten years more in the 
same way, he might be promoted to the rank of bishop. 
This injunction was repeated by several councils ; but met 
with more or less opposition from some of the clergy. 
Early in the sixth century, the emperor Justinian declared 
all children of clergymen illegitimate, and incapable of 
any hereditary succession or inheritance. 

The lavish donations of Constantine, and the law au- 
thorizing his subjects to seek salvation for their own souls 


by bequeathing estates to the church, to the detriment 
of their natural heirs, rendered the church exceedingly 
wealthy. The religious reverence and theological fears of 
the people, induced profuse liberality to monks and priests, 
which successive emperors sought to check by restraining 
laws. The ecclesiastical revenue was divided into four 
parts. One for the poor, one for the expenses of public 
worship, one for the inferior clergy, and one for the bishops. 
In the early times, salaries were merely sufficient for a 
moderate competence ; but they were gradually enlarged, 
until the bishops in cities lived much more like princes, 
than like Paul the tent-maker. They dwelt in splendid 
palaces, gave sumptuous dinners, made lavish presents, 
and conferred important benefits, as a means of obtaining 
political influence, and popular favour, to be used for the 
aggrandizement of the church. Jerome thus loudly com- 
plains of the state in which he found the clergy of Rome, 
toward the close of the fourth century : "I am ashamed 
to say it, but there are men, who seek the priesthood, and 
become deacons, only that they may see women with less 
restraint. Dress is all their care. Their hair is curled 
with tongs ; their fingers blaze with diamond rings ; they 
will scarcely touch the ground with their feet, so afraid are 
they of a little dampness or dirt." He charges all the 
ecclesiastics of Rome with hunting for legacies, with 
making use of the sacred name of the church to extort 
money for their own emolument, from the fears of the 
dying, or the devotion of the living. The law of Yalen- 
tinian, prohibiting the clergy and monks from receiving 
bequests, he acknowledges was just. He says: " I com- 
plain not of the law, but that we have deserved such a 
law." Ambrose and Augustine likewise admit that eccle- 
siastical avarice made such restraining edicts necessary. 
The church at Rome especially had become very wealthy 
and powerful. The bishop was the confidential adviser 
of illustrious ladies, the distinguished guest of patricians 
and princes. Such a position was of course a prize to 
excite the avarice and ambition of men. In the year 


three hundred and eighty-four, Ursinus and Damasus 
violently contended for it. Their adherents fought, and 
one hundred and thirty-seven dead bodies remained in the 

church; the price which Damasus paid for his victory. 
Tiic candid Pagan, Animianus, who was their COtemporary, 
thus alludes to these factions, in his History of liome : 
"I am not astonished that so valuable a prize should 
inflame the desires of ambitious men. The successful 
candidate is sure that he will be enriched by the offerings 
of matrons ; that as soon as his dress is arranged with 
becoming care and elegance, he may proceed in his chariot 
through the streets of Eome ; and that the sumptuousness 
of the imperial table will not equal the profuse and deli- 
cate entertainments provided by the taste and at the ex- 
pense of the Roman Pontiff. How much more rationally 
would those Pontiffs consult their true happiness, if they 
would imitate the exemplary life of some provincial bishops, 
whose temperance and sobriety, plainness of apparel, and 
humble deportment, recommend their pure, unpretending 
virtue to the Deity, and to all his true worshippers." 

Hosius, Bishop of Cordova, in Spain, complained at the 
Council of Sardica, that bishops went to court so fre- 
quently with demands having no connection with their 
calling ; merely to secure places of honour and profit for 
individuals they wished to patronize, or to manage for 
them some worldly concerns. Theophilus, Bishop of 
Alexandria, was so ambitious to erect splendid edifices, 
that he paid comparatively little attention to the spiritual 
welfare of his flock. He was so grasping of funds, that a 
wealthy widow, who wished to have a thousand gold 
pieces employed in clothing the poor women of that city, 
entrusted them to a benevolent presbyter, charging him to 
keep the transaction secret from the avaricious bishop. He 
discovered it, however, and persecuted the good presbyter 
to such a degree, that he fled into the desert. Even there 
the anger of Theophilus pursued him and the monks that 
sheltered him ; and a prolonged quarrel in the church was 
the consequence. 


Gregory ofNazianzen was bo disgusted with the clerical 
competition lie witnessed, that he exclaimed : " Would to 
heaven there wen; no primacy, no eminence of place, no 
tyrannical precedence of rank, and that we might be dis- 
tinguished only by eminence Id virtue! But, as things 
now are, the distinction of a seat at the right hand or the 
left, or in the middle; at a higher or lower place ; of going 
before, or aside of each other, has given rise to many dis- 
orders among us, to do salutary purpose whatever, and has 
plunged multitudes into ruin." When Chrysostom visited 
the Asiatic churches, lie deposed thirteen bishops for mis- 
conduct. He declared that licentiousness, and the babit of 
selling ecclesiastical preferments, had more or less con- 
taminated the whole order; and be d a conviction 
that the number of bishops who would be saved was ; 
than those who would be damned. Paul of* Sam< 
Bishop of Antioch, in the third century, was conspicuous 
for his luxurious style of living. He held a civil office, 

upon which he prided himself, and was accustomed to ride 

through the streets accompanied by guards, and followed 
by a multitude of attendants; and he sat upon a splendid 
throne when he presided at ecclesiastical assemblies. lie 
exacted large contributions from the opulent, much of 
which he was accused of spending for his own gratification. 
He dressed with elaborate elegance, kept a luxurious table; 
and theological opponents, who attacked his heretical 
views concerning the Logos, said that two beautiful women 
were his companions in the episcopal palace. 

A singular instance of compromise with regard to theo- 
logical opinions occurred in the ease of Syncsius of Cyrene, 
said to have been a descendant of Hercules. If; 
Platonist, or rather an eclectic philosopher, distinguished 
for his elegant style of writing, and knowledge of cla 
literature. At the close of the fourth century, he became 
a convert to Christianity, though not according to the pre- 
scribed pattern. But his character for eloquence, learning, 
and integrity, stood so high, that Thcophilus, Archbishop 
of Alexandria, was desirous to rank him among the bishops, 


Tic was reluctant to assume the clerical office, for many 
reasons. He said that he loved classic literature and philo- 
sophy, ami would by no means consent to relinquish them ; 
that he was much addicted to field-sports, and should con- 
tinue to be so; that he did not believe in the resurrection 
of the body, and had no sympathy whatever with the pre- 
vailing views concerning celibacy. Being still urged, not- 
withstanding this candid avowal of his opinions and habits, 
he consented to become Bishop of Ptolemais, in Egypt. 
With admirable frankness, he said to those who were to 
ordain him : " God, and the law of the land, and the holy 
hand of Theophilus the bishop, have bestowed on me my 
wife. I therefore solemnly declare, and call you to wit- 
ness, that I will not be plucked from her ; nor will I con- 
sent to live with her in secret. But I hope and pray that 
we may have a large family of virtuous children." In 
consideration of his distinguished talent and learning, and 
his well-known probity, a compromise was agreed upon, 
and he was permitted to enjoy his own habits and opinions 
unmolested. For twenty years he presided over his diocese 
with great energy and dignity, and with a scrupulous 
regard for the welfare of his people. He continued to 
devote his leisure to literary pursuits, and his writings 
have been much admired both by ancient and modern 
scholars. Dr. Milman thus describes them : "They blend, 
with a very scanty Christianity, the mystic theology of 
the later Platonism ; but it is rather philosophy adopting 
Christian language, than Christianity moulding philosophy 
to its own uses." 

The proceedings of Constantine at the Council of Nice 
had greatly increased the tendency to clerical pride. He 
had voluntarily taken a seat lower than the bishops, profes- 
sing that it was not for him to assume authority, in ecclesias- 
tical matters, over the successors of the Apostles, whom 
God had appointed his vicegerents on earth. The vantage- 
ground thus accorded to the clergy, they ever after claimed 
as an inalienable right. The son and successor of Constan- 
tine was denounced as a heretic, and excluded from councils, 


on the ground that no layman, even though he were an 
emperor, had any right to be present at the discussions of 
bishops. The administration of the sacrament was refused 
to the Arian emperor, Yalens; and even the orthodox 
Theodosius was obliged to acknowledge himself inferior 
in ecclesiastical concerns. It had been customary for the 
emperor, when at church, to sit within the railing, which 
separated the congregation from the officiating priests and 
their attendants. But when Theodosius attempted to enter 
within the sacred enclosure of the church at Milan, Am- 
brose, with a gesture of dignified politeness, pointed to a 
lower seat reserved for the emperor, at the head of the 
laity. The imperious Theodosius yielded to this assump- 
tion of clerical superiority, and the people applauded an 
arrangement which placed the lowest of the deacons above 
their monarch in spiritual rank. When messengers from 
the Arian empress Justina and her son accused Ambrose 
of tyranny, in not allowing the imperial family one church 
in Milan for their own mode of worship, he proudly 
replied: "In ancient times priests bestowed empire, they 
did not condescend to assume it. Kings have desired to 
be priests, rather than priests to be kings." Martin, the 
pious but illiterate soldier, who afterward became Bishop 
of Tours, was invited to dine with the emperor Maximin. 
"When wine was brought, the monarch passed the goblet 
to the bishop, expecting and wishing to receive it from his 
holy hand after he had drank of it. But Martin passed it 
to his presbyter, not deeming it proper that even an impe- 
rial layman should take precedence of a priest ; and Maxi- 
min, though of a haughty and ferocious temper, was not 
offended. The empress, to do all possible honour to the 
holy man, tended the table herself. She afterwards picked 
up the crumbs he dropped, and preserved them as sacred 
relics. Princes were continually reminded that the civil 
power was merely earthly and transitory, while the 
authority of bishops was derived from God himself, and 
extended beyond this world into the next; that priests 
were as much superior to kings, as the soul was to the 


body. The people, of course, paid homage to a power 
acknowledged to be above royalty, and claiming to be 
derived from heaven. When Athanasius returned from 
exile, the people of Alexandria waved incense before him 
as he passed through the streets. Jerome calls Epiphanius 
"a shining star among bishops, a pattern of ancient holi- 
ness, to whom the people flocked in crowds, offering their 
little children to his benediction, kissing his feet, and 
catching the hem of his garment." Chrysostom says when 
the Bishop of Antioch came to Constantinople, the multi- 
tudes went out to meet him, and as many as could come 
near him kissed his hands and his feet. Jerome says the 
populace sometimes sang hosannas to their bishop, as they 
had done to Christ. Paul of Samosata was displeased 
when he entered a church, if the audience did not receive 
him with applause; and the hosannas introduced as an 
occasional salutation to the bishops, became a prominent 
part of the ceremonial of his church. Ambrose says that 
kings and princes did not disdain to bow their necks to 
the knees of the priests and kiss their hands, and it is 
recorded that this was the customary respect paid to 

The universal adulation and homage to bishops, though 
grounded in religious reverence, was not unmingled with 
selfish policy, and fear of their great authority in spiritual 
and temporal concerns. Of all the power lodged in their 
hands, none was more dreaded than that of excommunica- 
tion. In the early days, a person guilty of misconduct 
was expelled from the church by vote of the community 
to which he belonged. But this power gradually passed 
from the people into the hands of bishops ; and as time 
went on, the forms increased in severity. The ancient 
Druids practised terrible forms of excommunication, by 
which every person was forbidden to furnish the culprit 
with food, or fire, or to minister to his necessities in any 
way, whatever might be his sufferings. The awful ana- 
thema often included whole families, and even nations. 
This custom, which gave the priesthood great power, was 


imitated by the Christian church. Athanasius excommu- 
nicated one of the clergy in Egypt, and transmitted orders 
to the churches to refuse him the use of either fire or water. 
Synesius excommunicated a magistrate who grievously 
oppressed the people of Libya, and who could not be per- 
suaded to alter his despotic course, by any remonstrances 
or exhortations. Synesius at last expelled him from the 
church, and issued orders to all other Christian churches, 
on pain of being considered guilty of schism, not to allow 
him to partake of the sacrament, to hear prayers, to attend 
worship, or even to be buried with any Christian cere- 
monies. Private citizens were required to exclude him 
from their tables and their houses, on pain of being them- 
selves excluded from religious privileges. His accomplices 
were included in the sentence, and even their wives and 
children, who had no participation in their crimes. This 
sentence was very terrible, because men believed that it 
shut them out from heaven ; involving as it did the neces- 
sity of dying without Christian sacraments, which they 
regarded as absolutely necessary to expiate the sins of the 
soul. The guilty magistrate quailed before this dreadful 
prospect. He submitted to the bishop, acknowledged the 
justice of his sentence, and amended his ways. 

In the days of primitive Christianity, those who com- 
mitted any misdemeanour confessed their fault before the 
whole congregation, and were publicly prayed for. But in 
the fifth century, the Bishop of Borne substituted the cus- 
tom of private confession to the clergy, who prescribed 
what penance they thought proper. This practice greatly 
increased the power of the priesthood. 

With the increasing wealth and power of the church, 
subdivisions of rank gradually multiplied. Instead of the 
deacons and presb}4ers of the ancient time, elected by the 
congregation, and claiming no preeminence among their 
brethren, there were now patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, 
priests, deacons, subdeacons, exorcists, readers, and door- 
keepers. But with all this pomp of retinue, and the luxury 
and worldly- mindedness so conspicuous in many of the 
Vol. Ill— 18 


clergy, there were many bishops and priests, especially in 
the country towns, who were real blessings to mankind. 
Men of true piety, and unostentatious benevolence, such 
as the candid historian Ammianus describes. Men who 
lived plainly themselves, and appropriated their revenues 
to the building of hospitals, alms-houses, bridges, and foun- 
tains ; who patiently instructed the ignorant, and sympa- 
thized with the suffering ; to whom the dying could intrust 
their widows and orphans, secure that their rights would be 
courageously defended against the machinations of the 
cunning and the powerful ; to whom the indigent and the 
oppressed could go in their troubles, and find such friends 
as the good Bishop of Nola, who sold himself to redeem 
the widow's only son. And even the high-handed as- 
sumption of power, which would be intolerable in our day, 
sometimes exerted a salutary restraining influence in those 
rude, superstitious times. We cannot otherwise than reve- 
rence and bless Ambrose for using his authority to fetter 
the tyrannical temper of Theodosius, and secure the people 
from outbursts of his despotic violence. In the records of 
those stormy times, when the rights of the common people 
were so entirely overlooked, there are some beautiful in- 
stances of the mediation of bishops, turning the hearts of 
kings when no other earthly influence could have prevailed. 
At the close of the fourth century, the citizens of Antioch 
rose in open rebellion, on account of oppressive taxation. 
Flavianus, the bishop, was old, and at that time very ill ; 
but knowing the passionate temperament of the emperor 
Theodosius, and anxious to avert his vengeance from the 
people, he hastened with all speed to Constantinople. As 
soon as he entered into the emperor's presence, he said: 
"I have come as the deputy of our common Master, to 
address this word to your heart : ' If ye forgive men their 
trespasses, then will your Heavenly Father also forgive 
your trespasses.' " The festival of Easter was then ap- 
proaching, and he alluded to it as a peculiarly fitting sea- 
son to show clemency. The haughty and violent soldier 
was as susceptible as a woman to religious impressions. 


The exhortation of the aged prelate melted him at once. 
He replied : " How can it be a great thing for me, who am 
but a man, to remit my anger toward men, when the Lord 
of the world himself, who for our sakes took the form of a 
servant, and who was crucified by those to whom he was 
doing good, interceded with his Father, in behalf of his 
crucifiers, saying: 'Forgive them, since they know not 
what they do.' " He promised to forget the offences com- 
mitted against his government, and to institute inquiries 
into the real causes of grievance. Flavianus hastened back 
to his anxious people, and arrived in season to proclaim 
the joyful tidings before Easter. 

When Priscillian and his followers were condemned to 
death for heretical opinions, by influence of Spanish bish- 
ops, Ambrose and Martin, and most of the bishops of Italy 
and Gaul exclaimed against it as an act of cruelty and a 
dangerous precedent. When Meletius, Bishop of Antioch, 
was exiled by the Arian emperor Constantius, his people, 
who were devotedly attached to him, resisted the execution 
of the decree. They assembled in great numbers on the 
road and threw stones at the magistrate who was convey- 
ing him out of town. But Meletius exhorted them to pa- 
tience, and spreading out his mantle, protected the Prefect 
with his own body. 


Synods were early held at Jerusalem, Ephesus, and 
Rome, to settle the dispute between Eastern and Western 
churches, concerning the day on which Easter should be 
observed. Toward the end of the second century, Pro- 
vincial Synods were adopted ; and it soon came to be an 
established custom for the bishops of all the towns to meet, 
every spring and autumn, in the capital of the province 
where they resided, to settle the disputed questions con- 
tinually arising. To these were added occasional councils, 
as emergencies required. Heresies within the church occu- 
pied most of their attention, though Jews and Pagans re- 


ccivcd a full share. Seven councils were held at Carthage 
to decide whether those who had been frightened into any 
concession or evasion in times of persecution should be re- 
admitted to communion with the faithful ; and whether it 
was necessary to re-baptize heretics, who wished to return 
to the bosom of the church. After Christianity became 
established as the state religion, the emperors occasionally 
summoned General Councils, to which bishops from all 
parts of the empire were invited. These assemblies were 
generally very discordant, and one council frequently re- 
versed what the preceding had established. Nevertheless 
the idea began to prevail in the fourth century, and soon 
became an established opinion, that the deliberations of 
assembled bishops were under the especial direction of the 
Holy Ghost; that their decisions were therefore infallible; 
and consequently the salvation of the soul depended on un- 
questioning belief in whatever they decreed. The famous 
Simon Stylites, speaking of the fourth General Council, says: 
"In my declared attachment to the faith of the six hun- 
dred and thirty holy fathers assembled at Chalcedon, I take 
my stand upon an actual revelation of the Holy Spirit. If 
the Saviour is present among two or three gathered together 
in his name, is it conceivable that among holy fathers so 
numerous and eminent, the Holy Spirit should not be pre- 
sent throughout?" Gregory the Great, Patriarch of Home 
in the sixth century, alluding to the Council of Nice, which 
settled the equality of the Son with the Father, to the 
Council of Constantinople which settled the equality of the 
Holy Ghost with both, and to the Councils of Ephesus and 
Chalcedon which settled the dispute concerning the divine 
and human natures in Christ, says: "I believe as fully 
and fervently in the Four Councils, as I do in the Four 

Yet the spirit manifested in these councils often seemed 
the reverse of holy, and there were few indications of the 
clearness and certainty to be expected from men supernatu- 
rally guided. According to Socrates, the Christian histo- 
rian, the bishops assembled at the Council of Nice presented 


the emperor with numerous letters of accusation against 
each other ; many of them founded on personal animosity. 
Constantine, in his zeal to protect Christianity from ridi- 
cule or reproach, burned these slanderous documents, and 
advised mutual forbearance and concession. The same 
historian, describing the discussions in that council, whe- 
ther the Son of God was created or begotten, compares it 
to a battle in the night, where men are unable to discern 
on which side they are fighting. At the Council of 
Ephesus, Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, violently hurried 
through the decisions before all the bishops had arrived, 
though a magistrate sent by the emperor Theodosius Se- 
cond, demanded delay. Nestorius, patriarch of Constan- 
tinople, who refused to call Mary the Mother of God, was 
deposed and condemned as a second Judas. One of the 
bishops declared that, "having presumed to falsify the doo- 
trines of orthodoxy, he deserved every punishment, both 
from God and man, as did he who counterfeited the impe- 
rial coin." John, Patriarch of Antioch, arriving after the 
sentence was passed, convened a synod of thirty bishops, 
who deposed Cyril, and described him as a monster born 
for the ruin of the church. The adherents of the two par- 
ties fought with words and blows. The cathedral was 
stained with blood, and the streets were kept in a perpetual 
tumult. JSTestorian bishops were obliged to ask for a guard 
from the emperor, either to remain at Ephesus in safety, 
or return to their churches without peril. The magistrate 
finally interfered, dispersed this riotous council by force, 
and placed the deposed bishops in safe custody. A second 
Council was called at Ephesus, about eighteen years later, 
to decide concerning the heresy of Eutyches, who taught 
that Christ had but one nature. A great concourse of 
monks assembled, and silenced opposition by violent threats 
and clamorous outcries, which drowned the voice of any 
speaker they did not approve. The presence of soldiers, 
sent by the emperor, likewise served to intimidate the 
minority. Blank papers were placed before the bishops, 
which the monks and soldiers compelled them to sign, to 
Vol. III.— 18* 


be afterward filled up with whatever the ruling party 
thought proper. The contest was so rude, that Dioscurus, 
Patriarch of Alexandria, is said to have buffeted and kicked 
Flavian, Patriarch of Constantinople, to such a degree that 
he afterward died of the wounds and bruises he had re- 
ceived. This council took the ground that Christ had but 
one nature. They sought to maintain by Scripture, that 
heresy was a sin against God, and far greater than any 
possible sin against men. When one of the bishops at- 
tempted, in a conciliatory way, to explain in what sense he 
understood the doctrine of two natures in Christ, many 
voices vociferated: "Burn him alive! Let him be cut 
asunder, as he has sundered Christ !" A Council at Chal- 
cedon, two years later, reversed the decrees of the second 
Council at Ephesus, which was thenceforth styled "The 
Synod of Robbers." At the Council of Chalcedon, ten 
Egyptian bishops, of venerable age, begged that they might 
not be required to sign an anathema against Eutyches, till 
they could ascertain what was the opinion of the new Pa- 
triarch of Alexandria, about to be elected ; for so despotic 
was his authority, that if they declared opinions indepen- 
dent of him, they could not be certain of their lives, when 
they returned to their own country. 

That such scenes of fierce altercation were painful and 
humiliating to good men might be readily supposed, even 
if there were no record of it. Some of moderate temper 
continued to take part in councils, hoping to regulate the 
spirit of contention, and believing that the humanizing 
influences of Christianity could not be extended, unless 
the church could be established in unity of doctrine. 
Others became thoroughly disheartened and disgusted, and 
avoided all such assemblies. Gregory, Bishop of ISTazian- 
zen, who had much experience of councils, says: "I am 
so constituted, that, to speak the truth, I dread every as- 
sembly of bishops ; for I have never yet seen a good end 
of any one. I have never been present at a synod which 
did more to suppress evils, than to increase them. An 
indescribable thirst for contention and rule prevails in 


them. I am weary of struggling with holy bishops, whose 
jealousies render harmony impossible, and who make light 
of the interests of the faith, in pursuit of their own quar- 
rels." Again he says: "They fight, and run into schism, 
and divide the whole world for the sake of thrones. The 
Trinity is a mere pretext for their wrangling; the true 
cause being an incredible spirit of hatred." Constantine 
had commanded that the public establishment of post- 
horses should gratuitously afford every facility for the 
journeys of bishops, and that during their sessions they 
should be sumptuously maintained at the public expense. 
This became a heavy charge; for it required many and 
prolonged meetings to settle questions, which every curious 
mind could ask, but which no finite understanding could 
possibly explain or comprehend. The historian Ammi- 
anus says: "The highways are covered with troops of 
bishops, galloping from every side to the assemblies which 
they call synods. And while they labour to reduce the 
whole sect to their own particular opinions, the public 
establishment of post-horses is almost ruined by their fre- 
quent and hurried journeys." Hilary, Bishop of Poictiers, 
thus laments the perpetual discord : " It is a thing equally 
deplorable and dangerous that there are as many creeds as 
opinions among men, as many doctrines as inclinations, 
and as many sources of blasphemy as there are faults 
among us; because we make creeds arbitrarily and ex- 
plain them as arbitrarily. The Homoousian is rejected, 
and received, and explained away, by successive synods. 
The partial or complete resemblance of the Father and the 
Son is a subject of dispute for these unhappy times. Every 
year, nay, every moon, we make new creeds to describe 
invisible mysteries. We repent of what we have done ; 
we defend those who repent ; we anathematize those whom 
we have defended. We either condemn the doctrine of 
others in ourselves, or our own doctrine in that of others. 
Thus reciprocally tearing each other in pieces, we have been 
the cause of each other's ruin." Again he says : " The East 
and the West are in a perpetual state of restlessness and 


disturbance. Deserting our spiritual charges, abandoning 
the people of God, neglecting the preaching of the Gospel, 
we are hurried about from place to place, often to a great 
distance, some of us infirm with age, or feeble with ill 
health, sometimes obliged to leave our sick brethren on 
the road. The whole administration of the empire, the 
emperor himself, the tribunes and the commanders, at this 
fearful crisis, are occupied with the lives and condition of 
the bishops. The people are by no means unconcerned. 
The whole brotherhood watches in anxious suspense the 
result of these troubles. The public post-horses are worn 
out with our journeyings." 

These sectarian controversies were often intertwisted 
with personal quarrels, growing out of mutual jealousy, 
and competition for power. The Patriarchs of Eome and 
Constantinople were always rivals, and prone to sustain 
opposite sides in every dispute. A similar state of feeling 
grew up between Alexandria and Constantinople ; for as 
the church of Alexandria was said to be founded by Mark 
the Evangelist, the Patriarch thought it gave him a claim 
to be the acknowledged head of the Eastern churches. 
Councils summoned under such circumstances, and in such 
a temper, settled the theological doctrines of the Christian 
world. Men were required to believe their decisions infal- 
lible ; and it was customary to conclude their decrees with 
this declaration: "Whosoever teaches any other doctrine 
than this, let him be accursed." This remained the state 
of things for centuries; but as the central power of the 
church at Eome grew stronger, the decisions of councils 
were pronounced not to be infallible, till they had received 
the sanction of the Pope. 


The first volume of this book proves that monastic asso- 
ciations existed at a very early period of the world in the 
forests of Hindostan. It also shows that their old theo- 
logical doctrine, which attributed all evil to the existence 


of Matter, led the ancient anchorites of that country to hate 
their bodies, and to inflict upon them all manner of tortures 
for the good of the soul. Ancient Egypt, whose religious 
theories so much resembled those of Hindostan, probably 
had some modification of the same institution ; though I 
am not aware of any proof that it was so, except the men- 
tion of associations called Gymnosophists and Therapeutse. 
Jews, who entertained different views concerning the 
origin of evil, never manifested such abhorrence of the 
body. There were individual ascetics among them, such 
as the Nazarites, devoted to the Lord by a special vow ; 
and it is recorded that some of the prophets went without 
clothing, wounded themselves with sharp instruments, or 
remained for a long time in one position. But these things 
appear to have been done merely as symbolical of some 
event they prophesied ; while Hindoo devotees resorted to 
similar practices, as means of atoning for sins, or of laying 
up a store of extra merit, to procure additional rewards in 
Paradise. The Essenes resembled Pythagorean commu- 
nities, and both had many features in common with the old 
Hindoo associations. Perhaps both found their model in 
ancient Egypt ; for there is evidence, derived from various 
sources, that two classes of ascetics existed in that country 
before the introduction of Christianity. The Gymnoso- 
phists, or naked philosophers, who lived in communities 
on the banks of the Nile, appear to have been regarded by 
Apollonins as similar to the associations of devotees in 
India. The Therapeutae, described in the chapter on the 
Jews, in many of their customs and regulations bore a 
striking resemblance to the Pythagorean communities, and 
the Braminical schools. Eusebius the historian, thinks 
they were converts of the Apostle Mark, who is supposed 
to have founded the first church at Alexandria. But in 
all that is recorded of them, there is no trace whatever of 
Christianity. Moreover, Philo, who probably died before 
there was a church gathered at Alexandria, gives a de- 
tailed account of the Therapeutae, whom he describes as 
already an ancient sect in his time. 


A good deal of curiosity concerning "the wise men of 
India" was manifested by various writers in the first cen- 
turies of Christianity. Apollonius visited them. Plotinus 
was on his way thither, attracted by their fame. Origen 
evidently had some knowledge of them. Bardesanes the 
Gnostic, and Porphyry the New Platonist, describe them 
in a way implying some information concerning the Bud- 
dhists also. That some Christian converts began to imi- 
tate the East India Fakeers, as early as the time of Irenreus, 
seems to be indicated by his allusion to men who lived 
alone on the mountains, without clothing, subsisting on 
herbs like wild beasts. These idle ascetics appear to have 
reproached pious Christians who manufactured articles, 
which were purchased by their Pagan neighbours; but 
Irenaaus speaks of them and their advice with disapproba- 
tion ; and says such men had no correct idea what Chris- 
tian life ought to be. There was certainly nothing in the 
teaching of Christ, or the example of the Apostles, to fa- 
vour such customs. The utmost Paul said concerning a 
life of celibacy was, that those who chose to devote them- 
selves to it would have more freedom from worldly cares. 
The early Fathers, even the stern Tertullian, commended 
marriage. But the Gnostics who spread so widely in all 
parts of the Christian world, were thoroughly imbued with 
Hindoo theories, derived from some source or other. The 
superior strictness of many of those sects was often brought 
into conrparison with orthodox Christianity, and their ex- 
ample and arguments doubtless had a good deal of influ- 
ence in favour of celibacy. From the earliest periods, 
some individuals chose to impose such a vow upon them- 
selves as a means of devoting themselves to religion with 
more uninterrupted freedom. What Christ said to the rich 
man was very generally understood to imply that renun- 
ciation of property was essential to Christian perfection. 
Therefore, if such devotees had estates, they sold them, 
and distributed the proceeds among the destitute; and 
whatsoever they earned, over their very simple wants, was 
given to the poor. But in th^ early days of the church, 


this class of members bore no resemblance to the self-tor- 
turing Fakeers of India. They lived in Christian families, 
were cheerful and diligent, and sold the proceeds of their 
industry to whomsoever wished to purchase. 

Paul. — The first Christian hermit, of whom there is any 
record, was a youth named Paul, born of a noble family 
in Thebes. He was not impelled by a desire to devote 
himself to monastic life ; but during the reign of Decius, 
persecution raged with such terrible violence in that part 
of the world, that he hid himself in the desert, to escape 
from death, or from continual temptations to abjure his 
faith. He found a cavern, near which were some palm 
trees and a fountain. He fed on the dates and drank from 
the stream; and when his clothes dropped off, he substi- 
tuted a garment of braided palm leaves. He became so 
much attached to that mode of life, that when the Chris- 
tian churches were safe from outward dangers, he had no 
wish to return to the world. He is said to have lived 
ninety-eight years in the desert, seen by human beings at 
very rare intervals, and spending his time in meditation and 
prayer. He does not appear to have made any attempts 
to proselyte others to his mode of life, and there is no ac- 
count that any were attracted to reside in his neighbour- 

Anthony. — Anthony is considered the father of Chris- 
tian monasticism. He belonged to an old and rather 
wealthy Egyptian family, near the Thebaid. They spoke 
the Coptic language, the ancient vernacular tongue of 
Egypt. The Coptic families generally neglected educa- 
tion, because it involved the necessity of acquiring the 
Greek and Latin languages, in which all the literature of 
that period was written. Anthony was brought up pious- 
ly, but without intellectual culture. It even seems doubt- 
ful whether he knew how to read. In boyhood he was of 
a serious and meditative cast of mind, little inclined to 
worldly learning. He attended church constantly, and all 


he heard there was deeply impressed upon his memory. 
Ilis parents died before he was twenty years old, and the 
care of a younger sister devolved upon him. Like all the 
people of those old times, he was prone to look for super- 
natural guidance in sudden exclamations, or whatever pas- 
sage of a book was first opened. One day, as he walked 
toward the church, his thoughts were occupied with the 
days of primitive Christianity, when the disciples held all 
things in common. He entered just as the preacher was 
reading : " Go sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor." 
Believing that these words were particularly addressed to 
him, he gave away all his lands to the inhabitants of his 
native village, on condition that they would never trouble 
him or his sisters about taxes, or any other worldly mat- 
ters. His other property he sold, and divided the proceeds 
among the poor, reserving only a small income for the 
support of his sister. Soon after that, his mind was again 
impressed, while in church, by hearing the words : " Take 
no thought for to-morrow." Kegarding this as a direct 
admonition from the Lord, he gave away the little pro- 
perty he had reserved for the maintenance of his sister, 
and placed her under the protection of some pious virgins 
of the church. Being now free from all earthly cares, he 
sought out a venerable old hermit in the neighbourhood 
and took up his residence near him. The mountains and 
deserts of the Thebaid abounded with caves and grottoes, 
well adapted for anchorites. Anthony found many devo- 
tees inhabiting these solitudes. Whether any of them 
belonged to the Therapeutae, or had belonged to them, is 
not stated. But it is recorded that whenever he heard of 
any remarkable ascetic, he travelled to see him, staid with 
him some time, learned from him all that he could, and 
returned to his own cell to imitate whatever he deemed 
admirable in his penances and devotions. He supported 
himself by the labour of his own hands, and gave the over- 
plus of his earnings to the poor. His fervent piety and 
rigid austerity excited great reverence, though he was so 
young. But inwardly he had many conflicts with what 

tJfifrlSTlANITY. 21? 

ke considered Evil Spirits, His heart yearned for his sis- 
ter, the beloved playmate of his childhood. Sometimes 
he thought of the comfortable food and clothing, and the 
pleasant relatives he used to enjoy, and the devils tempted 
him to ask whether he had done wisely to sacrifice all 
these, for such a dreary life of perpetual self-denial* He 
Struggled hard against these promptings of nature. He 
fasted almost to starvation, and prayed in agony of spirit, 
till great drops of sweat stood on his forehead. The devils 
finding whisperings were vain, attacked him with visible 
temptations. They raised up visions of tables laden with 
delicate viands, and of beautiful women, who poured out 
sparkling wine, and sought to allure him by smiles and 
blandishments. He resolved to flee from all human be- 
ings, and subject himself to still more rigid penances. He 
betook himself to a distant grotto in the rocks, which had 
been used for a tomb. He slept but little, and that on the 
bare earth, and often went without food for two or three 
days in succession. In this state of exhausted nature and 
excited nerves, he had terrible visions. " The Devil fear- 
ing the whole desert would soon be filled with holy her- 
mits, came upon him one night, with a whole troop of 
demons, and beat him so unmercifully, that he lay or the 
ground like a dead man." One of the hermits he had left 
behind was accustomed to carry him bread. When he 
arrived, the day after this disaster, he found Anthony 
stretched on the sands of the desert, apparently dead. He 
summoned assistance, and carried him to his native vil- 
lage, where his relatives and friends assembled to watch 
over the body. Anthony waked in the night, and seeing 
the company asleep, he roused the hermit, and insisted 
upon being carried back to his tomb in the desert. The 
hermit obeyed his orders, and left him alone. Anthony 
shouted to the Devil: "Ha! thou tempter! Didst thou 
think I had fled? Here I am again. I have strength to 
fight thee still." He remained in this sepulchre a long 
time, avoiding the sight of human beings, fasting and pray- 
ing, and practising the most rigid austerities. He after- 

VOL. III.— 19 K 


ward retired to a distant mountain, where he spent twenty 
years in an old ruined castle. The fame of his great holi- 
ness attracted visitors, and a band of hermits wished to 
have him for their spiritual guide. He finally consented 
to their intreaties. Many joined themselves to him, and 
new comers continually solicited to be trained by him in 
the monastic life. The desert swarmed with hermits, who 
lived in separate cells, and met together for devotional 
exercises. Those who served a novitiate with Anthony 
had their faith and patience tried in various ways. Some- 
times he ordered them to draw water out of a well for the 
whole day, and pour it on the ground ; sometimes to weave 
a basket and pull it to pieces continually ; sometimes to 
rip a garment,, sew it, and rip it again. If these tasks were 
performed without questions, and without signs of weari- 
ness, it was a sign of their growth in grace. Often he 
related to them his own experiences, by way of encourage- 
ment. Upon one occasion, he said to the younger monks : 
" For your instruction, I will speak what I have seen con- 
cerning the devices of devils. As often as they blessed 
me, I cursed them, in the name of the Lord. Sometimes 
they would come like an army of horsemen, fully equipped, 
threatening me ; but when I made the sign of the cross 
they vanished. Sometimes, they would fill the house with 
wild beasts and with serpents ; then I sang Psalms. Some- 
times they came in the dark, with a shining appearance, 
and said : 'Anthony, we have come to give you light ; r but 
I shut my eyes and prayed, and the light of the wicked 
was extinguished in a moment. Sometimes they came 
reciting Scripture ; but I stopped my ears and would not 
hear them. Sometimes they came clapping, whistling, and 
dancing ; but when I prayed, or sang Psalms, they began 
to whimper and cry, as if unnerved. Many a time, a tall 
devil displayed before me the appearance of gold in the 
desert, that I might touch it ; but when I sang Psalms, it 
melted away. Oftentimes they lashed me with whips ; but 
when I said : ' Nothing shall separate me from the love of 
Christ,' they turned and scourged each other." 


He fasted almost continually, and wore a coarse hair 
shirt, which he never took off. In cold weather, he added 
the skin of an animal for a mantle. He never washed 
himself; not even his feet. He was ashamed of the neces- 
sities of the body, and disliked to have any one see him eat 
or sleep. Multitudes came from all countries to see the 
celebrated saint. Those who were in trouble went to him 
for consolation. Those who had disputes, agreed to settle 
them according to his decision. The diseased were brought 
to him to be cured, and those who were afflicted with fits, 
had the devils cast out of them by his prayers. "A great 
many of the afflicted were healed by merely sitting outside 
of his door, believing and praying there." Those whom 
he could not cure, he taught to cultivate a patient submis- 
sion to the divine will. Those who were at enmity, he 
exhorted to imitate the forgiving spirit of Christ. He 
checked the monks in their tendency to place excessive 
value on miraculous gifts. He was accustomed to repeat 
to them : " Let us not rejoice that Spirits are subject to us, 
but rather rejoice that our names are written in heaven ; 
for that is a witness of our virtue ; but to expel Evil Spirits 
is a grace, which Christ has bestowed upon us." 

The continual throng of people so disturbed his medita- 
tions and prayers, that he escaped to a distant mountain 
near the Ked Sea. Some wild palm trees, and a spring 
of water furnished him with nourishment; and the wan- 
dering Arabs, awe-struck by his appearance, reverently 
brought him bread. The monks, whom he had left, dis- 
covered his retreat, after a while, and would have furnished 
him with food ; but he preferred to save them the labour of 
sending it He procured tools, and sowed some of the 
neighbouring land with grain and vegetables, which served 
for his own support, and for the refreshment of strangers, 
who again began to resort to him. He also wove baskets, 
and gave them in exchange for articles of nourishment. 
He exhorted those who came to him to remember that it 
was not he, but Christ, who wrought the cures. To a mi- 
litary officer, who besought him to heal a diseased daughter, 


he said : " I also am a man, like thyself. If thou believes* 
in the Christ, whom I serve, only depart and pray to God 
in faith, and it will be (lone." Wild 1 • came to 

drink at the Bpring, injured bis crops of grain ; hot h 
orcised them in the name of the Lord, and they w< i 

ever-awed, that they never ventured near the place again. 
lie was then old, and alone, and the monks begged to 
eome once a month to bring him olives and oil. Thoso 
who went to carry him food, often heard many voices, and 
as it were the clashing of arms. Sometimes, they saw him 
on the mountain at night, surrounded by wild beasts, or 
praying, or fighting with apparitions. "The Devil let 
loose upon him nearly all the hyenas of the desert. They 
came out of their holes, and surrounded him, grinning, 
and threatening to bite. Anthony said to them : ' If ye 
have received power against me, come on I I am ready to 
be devoured. But if the Devil has put this into your 
heads, begone this moment ! I am the servant of Christ.* 
And they hurried away, as if driven by the whip of his 
word." After his death, a story was circulated, that when 
he was ninety years old, a vision informed him there was 
a hermit in the desert more ancient and more holy than 
himself. Whereupon, he took staff in hand, and went 
forth to find Paul, the first Christian anchorite. Many 
miracles are recorded concerning his journey, and the in- 
terview between the two aged saints. Among other things* 
it is related that Anthony, passing through a deep narrow 
valley, encountered a Satyr, with a horned head, and 
goats' feet, who bowed reverently before him, and said : "I 
am one of those creatures, which haunt the woods, whom 
the blind Pagans worship as gods. But we are mortals, 
as thou know est; aud I come to beseech thee that thou 
wouldst pray for us to thy God, who is my God, and 
the God of all." When Anthony heard these words, tears 
trickled down his venerable face, and stretching his aged 
arm toward Thebes, he exclaimed : " Such are your gods, O 
ye Pagans ! "Woe unto you, when even such as these con- 
fess the name of Christy whom ye t blind and perverse 


generation, deny." Jerome tells this story, and adds, 
" though some may consider such an apparition improba- 
ble, yet all the world knows that a Satyr was brought to 
Alexandria, by the emperor Constantine, and his body 
preserved for the edification of the curious." The Satyr 
was doubtless an Ourang Outang. 

Anthony went to Alexandria but few times in his life, 
and only on extraordinary occasions. When he was nigh 
sixty years old, being informed that the emperor Maximin 
was cruelly persecuting the Christians, he immediately pro- 
ceeded to Alexandria, visited those who were in prison, 
offered them religious consolation, and exhorted them to 
remain stedfast unto death. His influence so stimulated 
the zeal and courage of Christians, that the governor com- 
manded all monks to leave the city. Others escaped, or 
concealed themselves; but Anthony boldly pursued his 
course; and such was the renown of his sanctity, that no 
one ventured to touch him. 

In three hundred fifty two, when he was a hundred 
years old, Athanasius and other bishops sought to avail 
themselves of his powerful influence to arrest the spread 
of Arianism. At their urgent request, he left his moun- 
tain and travelled four hundred miles, to Alexandria, 
where he preached zealously against Arianism, as the last 
heresy, the immediate forerunner of Antichrist. " Believe 
me," said he, " the whole creation is angry with them, for 
putting the Creator and Lord of all things, the Eternal 
Word and Wisdom of the Father, in the number of crea- 
tures." His appearance in that excitable city produced a 
great sensation. His long thin hair and flowing beard, of 
silvery whiteness, his mild serene aspect, his kindly man- 
ners, and his uncouth raiment, were well calculated to 
make a deep impression. The populace, of all religions, 
thronged about him, trying to touch his staff, or his gar- 
ments, that they might be cured of diseases. Even Pagan 
priests and philosophers went to church, for the sake of 
seeing and hearing the wonderful hermit. More were 
converted to Christianity during the few days he staid 
Vol. III.— 19* 


there, than during a whole year at other times. Ifc cored 
many of diseases and Insanity, and cast out many devil.-. 
When he was passing oul of the city gate, to return to his 

solitary mountain, a woman ran after him, calling out: 
M Stop ! stop ! thou man of God ! My daughter is wofully 
afflicted with devils. Stop, I pray thee!" When the 
woman came near him, her daughter was suddenly jcrl: 
down on the ground by the demon ; but Anthony prayed 
over her, and she rose up well. 

Constantine the Great, and his sons, wrote to Anthony, 
as to their spiritual father. Being unused to courtly cus- 
toms, and not knowing how to answer an imperial letter, 
he was at first reluctant to receive it ; but being reminded 
how much they had done for Christianity, he listened to 
the letter, and dictated an answer, in which he exhorted 
them to make just and humane laws, to be charitable to 
the poor, and to remember that Christ was the only true 
eternal king. lie knew all the Scriptures by heart, though 
it seems doubtful whether he could read them, even in the 
Coptic translation. A learned Pagan, who visited him, in- 
quired how he could endure to live without books. He 
replied: "Which was first, letter or spirit?" Being an- 
swered, he rejoined : " The healthy spirit needs no letters. 
My book is the whole creation; the Word of God, which 
always lies open before me. I can read it whenever I 
please." To some, who ridiculed Christians for excess of 
faith, he said : " What we know by faith, you seek to prove 
by arguments; and often you cannot even express that 
which we behold clearly in spirit." To an abbot, who 
asked what he ought to do, he replied : " Trust not in your 
own righteousness, and regret nothing which is already 
past." To Didymus, a learned Christian teacher in Alex- 
andria, who had been blind from his youth, he said : " Be 
not troubled that you are in want of such eyes as enable 
even flies and gnats to see, but rejoice rather that you have 
the eyes by which angels see, by which God is beheld, and 
his light received." Syncsius, the learned philosopher, 
while he was yet a Pagan, expressed great reverence for 


Anthony. He compared him to Hermes and Zoroaster ; 
and spoke of him as one of those rare men, the flashes of 
whose spirit enabled them to dispense with culture. 

When he had lived one hundred and five years, he felt 
that his soul was about to be released from his emaciated 
frame. He retained his mental faculties, and talked of his 
departure with cheerful faith. The ancient custom of em- 
balming bodies was still retained by many of the Egyp- 
tians, especially when the deceased had been venerated as 
a saint. These mummies, being carefully enveloped and 
sealed up, were placed on couches and preserved in some 
recess of the house. Anthony, wishing to guard against 
undue reverence for his remains, earnestly besought his 
friends the monks to bury him secretly, and reveal to no 
man the spot where he was laid ; saying it would ill be- 
come him to be more highly honoured than the patriarchs 
of old, and Christ himself, who were all buried. A few 
of his disciples retired with him to a solitary place, grieving 
deeply that they should soon look upon his venerable face 
no more. They kissed his feet, and bathed them with 
tears, exclaiming: "0 Anthony, father, instructor, friend, 
how can we live on earth without thee?" But he com- 
forted them with the prospect of eternal reunion, and while 
they were praying around him, his spirit passed gently 
away from the body it had so much abused. 

Athanasius, who greatly revered his memory, wrote his 
biography, from which the preceding account is abridged. 
In the preface he says : " I have inserted nothing but what 
I knew to be true, from my own acquaintance with the 
saint, whom I often saw, or from what I gathered from 
one who long ministered to him, and poured water on his 
hands." He makes no allusion to the miraculous inter- 
view with the hermit Paul, which was probably not spoken 
of in his day. 

Paul the Simple. — The earliest and oldest of Antho- 
ny's disciples is said to have been a hard-working, ignorant 
peasant, who retired into the desert at sixty years old, on 


account of his wife's misconduct Anthony was at first 
unwilling to receive him, thinking monastic life would not 
prove suitable for him. To prove him, he prescribed tasks 
more Bevere and difficult than usual. lie never allowed 
him to ea1 or drink until evening, and then merely suffi- 
cient to sustain life. Once, when a visitor brought a pot 
of honey, he ordered Paul to pour it on the sand, and ga- 
ther it up carefully in a shell, without mixing any dirt 
with it. The honest peasant obeyed these, and many 
other similar commands, without asking any questions, or 
betraying the slightest impatience. Finding that nothing 
could tempt him to disobedience or anger, Anthony re- 
ceived him as a brother monk, and was accustomed to 
hold him up as a pattern to younger disciples. Sometimes 
he had occasion to blush for his extreme ignorance. Once, 
when some learned monks were conversing with Anthony 
concerning Christ and the prophets, Paul inquired which 
of them was born first. Anthony made a customary sign 
to him, which signified that he was to hold his tongue. 
Paul retired to his cell, and when any one spoke to him, 
he returned no answer. Anthon}^ perceiving that he per- 
severed in this for a long time, asked him one day why he 
did not speak. He meekly replied : " Because you, my 
father, ordered me to hold my tongue." Anthony, turning 
to his disciples, said : " Verily he rebukes us all ; for often 
we do not attend to the voice of God himself, while he 
obeys my slightest word." On account of the ignorance 
and child-like innocence of the man, the other hermits 
called him Paul the Simple, and believed that his soul was 
very near to God. 

One day they brought to Anthony a young man who 
was possessed by a remarkably furious devil. He tried to 
rend all who approached him, and uttered the most shock- 
ing blasphemies. Anthony said : " This man is possessed 
by one of the most powerful order of demons, whom I 
have not received grace to command ; but Paul the Sim- 
ple has the necessary grace." So saying, he went with 
them to the hermit's cell, and said: "Paul, you must 


drive the demon out of this man, and heal him, so that he 
may return home, and glorify the Lord." " But do you 
drive him out, my father," replied Paul. " I have not 
leisure," said Anthony ; "I have other matters to attend 
to." So he left the possessed young man, and returned to 
his cell. Then Paul addressed an ardent prayer to God, 
and in all simplicity said to the demon : " Father Anthony 
commands you to go out of this man, that when he is well 
he may glorify the Lord." But the Devil answered: "I 
will not go out, you poor beggar-man." Then Paul laid 
his sheepskin mantle on the shoulders of the demoniac, 
and said: "Now go out, will you? Father Anthony com- 
mands you." But the Devil replied by abusing Father An- 
thony. "You shall go out," said Paul, "or I will go and 
tell Jesus Christ, and I give you my word that he will treat 
you as you deserve." But the Devil blasphemed Christ 
also, and declared he would not go out. Then Paul went 
out of his cell, and ascended a rock on the mountain, and 
there he stood at noon-day, like a pillar of stone, under 
the scorching sun of Egypt. Weary with his unavailing 
efforts, in the extreme simplicity of his heart he prayed 
thus : " Jesus Christ, you who were crucified under Pon- 
tius Pilate, I declare to you that I will not eat nor drink 
this day ; I will stand here on this rock and starve, if you 
do not listen to me, and drive the Devil out of that man, 
that he may be delivered from torment." "Immediately, 
as if God were afraid of vexing a man whom he tenderly 
loved, the demon was heard crying from the cell, where the 
young man had been left, ' I am going ! I am going ! I am 
going ! I am going ! Paul's humility and simplicity com- 
pel me to fly ; and I know not where to go.' He departed 
that instant, and took the form of a dragon, more than a 
hundred feet long, crawling toward the Red Sea." 

Rufinus, the friend of Jerome, has recorded that this 
same Paul the Simple could tell the disposition and 
thoughts of people, by merely looking at them ; and that 
he could also see their attendant angels. One day, as he 
stood at the door of a church, seeing the brethren pass in 


to celebrate the Lord's Supper, lie saw, with his spiritual 
eyes, that their angels had bright joyful countenances, as 
if well pleased with the state of their hearts. But one man 
went in, whose countenance was dusky; demons pulled 
him by the nose, and his guardian angel followed sadly at 
a distance. At that sight, Paul threw himself on the 
ground and wept bitterly. In vain the brethren tried to 
persuade him to go in with them to partake the sacra- 
ment. He refused to be comforted, and remained outside 
weeping and praying for the wretched man. When the 
peo] ile came out of church, he watched to see if any change 
had taken place ; and lo ! the man came out with a bright 
and happy face; the demons had left him, and his angel 
was rejoicing. When Paul told him what he had seen, 
the man confessed that he had been a fornicator, but that 
his heart had been deeply touched by passages of Scrip- 
ture read in the church, that he had prayed earnestly to 
Christ, and promised to sin no more. 

Eufinus, and Sozomen, the Christian historian, give ac- 
counts of Paul the Simple. 

Hilarion. — Hilarion, one of the most celebrated of the 
old saints, was born in Palestine, and sent to the Alexan- 
drian schools. He had been educated in the old Koman 
religion, but the fame of Anthony, which was then spread- 
ing through Egypt, kindled his young imagination. He 
went out to the desert to see him, and remained with him 
some months. After the death of his parents, he returned 
to his native place, with several monks, divided all his 
share of the property with his brothers and the poor, and 
at fifteen years old retired into the solitude of a neighbour- 
ing desert, where he commenced a mode of life in imitation 
of Anthony. Finding that the Devil tried to tempt him 
with visions of beautiful women, and luxurious feasts, he 
subdued his body by protracted fasts, and when he ate, he 
confined himself to a few dried figs and the j uice of herbs. 
He laboured incessantly digging the ground, singing 
Psalms meanwhile, to keep away evil thoughts. He be- 


came so attenuated that his bones could hardly hang to- 
gether. This severe discipline had the same effect on his 
nerves, that is recorded of the ancient devotees in Hindo- 
stan. " On a certain night, he heard the crying of children, 
the wailing of women, the bleating of sheep, the lowing of 
kine, the roaring of lions, and the tramp of an army. He 
knew the tricks of demons, so he fell on his knees, and 
made the sign of the cross on his forehead. All of a sud- 
den, a coach with glowing wheels came rushing toward 
him; but he called aloud on the name of Jesus, and the 
earth opened and swallowed it up. Then he began to sing : 
' The horse and his rider hath he cast into the sea.' " 

Jerome, who wrote the life of Hilarion, from which this 
account is taken, has recorded many miracles performed 
by him. He had been twenty-two years in the desert, 
many monks had joined him, and his fame had spread 
throughout Palestine, when a woman who had been blind 
ten years was brought to him. She told him she had 
spent all her money on physicians, and begged him to 
cure her. He replied: "If you had given to the poor, 
what you have squandered on doctors, Jesus, the true phy- 
sician, would have healed you." But when she continued 
to beg for mercy, he spit on her eyes, and immediately she 
received her sight. 

" A Christian kept horses to run in the chariot races at 
the circus, against his rival, a chief magistrate of Gaza, and 
a worshipper of idols. Now this rival employed a magi- 
cian, who, by certain incantations, made his horses run 
very swiftly, while he checked the speed of the Christian's 
horses. The latter went to Hilarion to ask assistance. 
The venerable saint thought it a silly business to waste his 
prayers about ; he therefore said : ' Why not sell your 
horses and give the money to the poor, for the salvation 
of your soul?' The man answered that it was an ancient 
custom to observe the chariot races ; that he did not do it 
from choice, but was bound as a magistrate to take part in 
them; that he came rather as a servant of God for aid 
against those who insulted the church of Christ. There- 


fore, at the request of the brethren who were present, 
Hilarion filled with water the earthen cup out of which he 
was accustomed to drink, and gave it to the petitioner. Lie 
took it and sprinkled his Btable, horses, chariot, and cha- 
rioteer; also the bars of the starting place in the circus. 
His competitor ridiculed the action, but he was confident 
of victory ; nor were his hopes disappointed. His horses 
flew like the wind, while those of his rival were impeded. 
The wheels of his chariot glowed, and the other party 
could scarce^ keep sight of them. The populace exclaimed 
that their god had been conquered by Christ. The de- 
feated party were furious, and demanded that Hilarion 
should be punished as a Christian enchanter. The victory 
being manifest, however, both in these games, and in many 
afterwards, caused great numbers to embrace Christianity." 

Men and animals possessed with devils were constantly 
brought to Hilarion, and he cured them all. Among the 
rest, a mad Bactrian camel was dragged to him by thirty 
men. " The beast's eyes were bloodshot, he foamed at the 
mouth, his lolling tongue was swollen, and his roaring was 
terrible. When the old man told them to let him loose, 
they all ran away. But he walked up to the animal, and 
standing with outstretched hands, said : 'You arc not going 
to frighten me, you Devil, big as you are! It is all the 
same to me whether you take the body of a small fox, or a 
huge camel.' The furious beast came up as if he would 
devour him; but instantly fell down, and lay with his 
head to the ground. All wondered to see such tameness 
follow such ferocity. But the old man told them the 
Devil often took possession of beasts, because he had such 
burning hatred against men, that he desired to destroy not 
only them but their property. He said no one ought to be 
disturbed because two thousand swine had been killed by 
demons, at the Lord's command; because that was the 
only way by which spectators could be convinced that 
such a multitude of demons had gone out of a man." 

"One day, as he returned from the garden, he saw a 
man lying before his door, whose whole body was para-. 


lyzed. He wept, and stretching out his hand over him, 
said : ' In the name of the Lord Jesus, I say unto thee rise 
up and walk.' With wonderful quickness, while the old 
man was yet speaking, the members of the paralytic re- 
ceived such strength, that he began to rise." 

When he was in Epidaurus, there was a terrible earth- 
quake, which caused the sea to break over its bounds, and 
threaten a second deluge. The inhabitants, fearing the 
town would be completely overwhelmed, led Hilarion to 
the beach, and placed him there as a bulwark against the 
encroaching waters. " He drew the figures of three crosses 
in the sand, and stretched forth his hand against the waves. 
It is incredible to what a height the swelling sea rose and 
stood before him. After raging for a considerable time, 
as if indignant at the obstacle, it retired by degrees to its 
proper boundaries. This fact is affirmed, in all that region, 
to this day ; and mothers teach it to their children, that 
they may transmit it to their posterity." 

He was unable to stay long in any one place, because 
the fame of his miracles drew such multitudes round him, 
that he was oppressed by their constant demands upon 
him. When it was rumoured that he was about to leave 
Palestine, ten thousand people, men, women, and children, 
assembled and implored him to stay. Jerome says: 
"Others may admire his miracles, his incredible absti- 
nence, his knowledge, and his humility ; but for my part, 
nothing so astonishes me as his ability to tread all that 
glory and honour under his feet. There flocked to him 
bishops, priests, companies of clergymen and monks, of 
Christian women, too (a great temptation), and from all 
sides a multitude of the common people, besides mighty 
men and judges, that they might get some bread, or some 
oil, on which he had pronounced a blessing. But he 
thought only of solitude." 

He died at eighty years old, requesting to be buried in 

his garden, in the hair shirt and rustic cloak, which he had 

worn for many years without having them changed, or 

even washed. However, his remains were too valuable to 

Vol. III.— 20 


be left in an obscure place. They were secretly taken, 
carried to a monastery, and buried with great solemnity. 

MARTIN. — But none of the old saints wrought so many 
and such great miracles as Martin ; who was first a valiant 
soldier in the army of Constantius, then a rigid monk, and 
finally the zealous, uncompromising, orthodox Bishop of 
Tours, in the year three hundred and seventy. In all 
these capacities, from youth to death, he was characterized 
by great sobriety, purity, serenity of temper, and un- 
bounded benevolence. One of his young disciples, not yet 
baptized, chanced to die in his absence. When Martin re- 
turned, after three days, he found him a corpse, laid out 
for the funeral. " Feeling himself filled with the Holy 
Spirit, he commanded all the brethren to leave the cell 
where the body lay. He then prostrated himself on the 
corpse, and prayed. After a while, he rose a little, looked 
steadfastly on the countenance of the deceased, and prayed. 
In about two hours, the youth began to open his eyes. 
Then Martin lifted up his voice to the Lord, and made the 
cell resound with thanksgiving." The brethren rushed in, 
astonished to find him alive, whom they had left dead. 
He was baptized immediately, and lived many years after- 
ward. He was accustomed to relate, that when he left the 
body he was brought before the Judge, " who sentenced 
him to dark places, among the common herd of departed 
spirits." [This was because he had died unbaptized.] 
"Then two angels suggested that this was he for whom 
Martin was praying; whereupon, they were ordered to 
convey him back to life again." 

There are several other instances of raising the dead, 
recorded by the biographer of Martin. He says also that, 
" at Paris, while he was entering the gate of the city, to 
the horror of all, he kissed a leper, and gave him his bless- 
ing, though the man's face was deformed by the disease. 
The leper was instantly cleansed ; and the next day he 
came to the church with a clear skin, to give thanks for 
his cure." Diseased people were cured by having a letter 


from Martin laid upon the breast. The blind received 
sight, when he touched their eyes with his cloak. "It 
is known that angels often visited his cell and held conver- 
sations with him. He kept the Devil, too, so closely and 
distinctly under his eye, that the fiend, whether he retained 
his proper shape, or assumed various disguises, could 
never hide himself from the view of Martin. Many a 
time he tried mischievous tricks upon the holy man. One 
while, he would personate Jupiter ; more frequently Mer- 
cury ; often he presented himself with the countenance of 
Venus, or Minerva. But Martin always met him with an 
undaunted spirit, and protected himself with the sign of 
the cross and the weapon of prayer." 

Sulpicius Severus, an ecclesiastical historian, who wrote 
toward the close of the fourth century, was a personal 
friend of Martin, and wrote a biography of him, which is 
still in existence. Among other marvellous things, he re- 
lates that the Devil one day appeared to Martin, " shed- 
ding round himself a purple splendour, clothed also in a 
royal robe, crowned with a diadem of gold and jewels, 
wearing golden slippers, with a serious aspect and a smil- 
ing face, so as to appear like anything rather than the 
Devil. Martin, who was at prayer in his cell, was dazzled 
at first, and both kept silence for some time. The Devil 
began by saying : ' I am Christ. Being about to descend 
upon the earth, I have resolved first to manifest myself to 
you.' Eeceiving no answer to this declaration, he had the 
audacity to repeat : ' Martin, why do you hesitate to be- 
lieve ? I am Christ ! ' Then the Spirit revealed to Mar- 
tin that it was the Devil, not God. And he said : ' The 
Lord Jesus did not foretell that he would come clothed in 
purple, and with a glittering crown. I will not believe 
that Christ has come in any other dress than that in 
which he suffered ; and bearing the marks of his cross.' 
At that word, the Evil Spirit vanished like smoke, and 
filled the cell with such a stench, as to afford indubita- 
ble evidence that he was the Devil. Lest any one 
should think this story fabulous, I aver that I heard from 


Martin's own mouth the circumstances as I have related 

lie informs us Martin's popularity was so great, that an 
incredible multitude assembled out of the city and all the 
neighbouring towns to give their suffrages to elect him 
bishop. " But some of the bishops who were summoned 
to consecrate him, resisted his election ; alleging that he 
was a contemptible person, of mean countenance, dirty 
clothing, and shaggy hair ; unworthy of the bishop's office. 
By people of sound mind this madness of theirs was de- 
rided." After he became bishop, he continued to be a 
monk, lived in a small cell, and wore the same mean ap- 
parel. His admiring biographer says : " I declare truly 7 
that if old Homer himself were to rise from the dead, he 
could not do justice to this subject; so much above the 
power of language are the merits of Saint Martin. Not 
an hour, nor even a minute passed, in which he was not 
engaged in prayer ; for however employed, he never suf- 
fered his mind to relax from its devotional frame. Happy 
man, in whom there was no guile ! Judging nobody, con- 
demning nobody, never rendering evil for evil ! For he 
had attained to such a degree of patience under injuries, 
that although he was the chief priest in his diocese, yet 
he might be injured with impunity by the lowest of the 
clergy ; nor did he ever, on that account, remove them from 
their places, nor cease to treat them with all possible kind- 
ness. No one ever saw him angry, or disturbed, or sor- 
rowful, or laughing. He was always the same ; bearing 
in his countenance a sort of heavenly cheerfulness. He 
seemed to have risen above the weaknesses of human na- 
ture. There was nothing in his mouth but Christ ; nothing 
in his heart but piety, peace, and compassion. There 
were some who envied his miracles and his purity of life, 
and hated in him what they were conscious of not possess- 
ing. But he had few persecutors ; very few indeed, ex- 
cept the bishops." The biographer concludes by saying : 
11 If any one reads this work without believing it, he will 
sin. I am conscious that I have, under the influence of 


love to Christ, faithfully related well-known facts, and 
have adhered to the truth in all my statements." 

For centuries after the death of Martin, the most as- 
tounding miracles continued to be performed at his 
tomb, which became a place of resort for people of all na- 
tions, of whom multitudes were converted to the Christian 
faith by the marvels they witnessed. 

Monasteries. — It is recorded of the Therapeutaa in 
Egypt that their reverence for Mosaic ceremonies gradually 
diminished, and that great numbers of them became con- 
verts to Christianity. It seems most likely these were the 
hermits, whom Anthony found in the deserts, whom he 
was accustomed to visit, and to take for examples. There- 
fore, when he drew around him a band of devotees, whom 
he guided, the customs introduced bore a strong resem- 
blance to those anciently observed in the forests of Hin- 
dostan, whence Egypt had derived the model of such 
institutions. Anthony's disciples lived in separate huts, or 
caves, and only met together at stated hours, for devotional 
purposes. Such isolated devotees were called Anchorites, 
from Greek words signifying those who live alone. Their 
collection of hermitages was called a Laura, which means 
an open space. 

Long before Anthony died, an Egyptian monk, named 
Pachomius, believed he heard the voice of an angel, saving 
it was not the will of God that he should devote himself 
entirely to his own spiritual perfection, but rather that he 
should seek to be an instrument of good to his brethren. 
Accordingly, he assembled a band of anchorites, who 
agreed to occupy separate cells enclosed in one large build- 
ing. The regulations and ceremonies introduced were said 
to have been revealed by an angel ; but they were exactly 
like those of the ancient Therapeutae, and so were the titles 
bestowed on the various officers of the institution. It will 
be sufficiently obvious to every observing reader that there 
was also a striking resemblance to Buddhist Lamaseries, as 
described in the chapter on Thibet. As the monks of 
Vol. III.— 20* 


Pachomius ate at one oommon table, they were called 
Coenobites, meaning those who Live together. I [e, as head 
of the establishment, was called A.bbot, from a Bebrewand 
Syriac word signifying Father. The association was divided 
into classes, according to theiT degrees of spiritual progress. 
Each class had its own presiding officer, and its allotted 
tasks. Pachomius was opposed to a life of idle contempla- 
tion, and the inmates of his establishment were as diligent 
as the occupants of Buddhist Lamaseries. They were agri- 
culturists, basket-makers, weavers, tailors, carpenters, tan- 
ners, and whatsoever other trade was needed. They raised 
and manufactured all that was wanted among themselves, 
and s<-nt a greal deal to the markets. Each department 
Lad its own steward, and all gave in their accounts to a 
general steward, who had oversight of the income and ex- 
penditure of the whole association. All that remained of 
their funds, after their own necessities were supplied, was 
distributed in the prisons, or sent to the poor, the aged, and 
the diseased. Very strict inquiry was made into the charac- 
ter of every one who wished to be admitted. He was re- 
quired to make solemn asseveration that he was legally 
entitled to act for himself, that he had committed no crime, 
from the consequences of which he wished to seek refuge, 
that he could submit to perpetual chastity, be strictly obe- 
dient to superiors, cheerfully renounce his property, and 
consent never to call anything his own. If he answered 
all these questions satisfactorily, he was still required to 
serve a season of probation, to test his qualities. When he 
entered, he shaved his head, and changed his name. 

This first Christian Monastery was erected on the island 
of Tabenna, in the Nile. Pachomius died in three hun- 
dred forty-eight, and during his life-time, it numbered 
three thousand inmates. It increased so rapidly, that in 
the lirst half of the fifth century, less than a hundred years 
from its commencement, there were fifty thousand monks 
included within its rules. Beggars and travellers always 
received gratuitous food and shelter; as had been the case 
with the ancient anchorites and the Braminical associations 


in Hindostan, and with the Lamaseries of the Buddhists. 
The well-ordered industry of these Monasteries not only 
supplied the wants of all the poor in their own vicinity, 
but ships were built at their expense, and whole cargoes of 
grain and vegetables were sent to the destitute in foreign 
lands. The monks wore long linen tunics, fastened with a 
girdle, to which they added a sheep-skin cloak in winter. 
They usually went barefoot, but sometimes wore wooden 
sandals, to protect them from the extreme heat or cold. 
They lived on bread and water, to which, on festal occa- 
sions, was sometimes added the luxury of a little oil, or 
salt, an olive, or a fig. They ate in companies of tens, and 
in perfect silence. They were bound to obey their supe- 
riors without remonstrance, or question. Each had his 
separate cell, with a mat on the floor, and a roll of palm 
leaves, which served for a seat by day, and a pillow by 
night. Every morning, evening, and night, the sound of 
a horn summoned them to prayer. At each meeting one 
of the brethren rose up, and standing in the midst chanted 
a Psalm. On stated occasions, portions of Scripture were 
read. No one spoke, or sneezed, or sighed, or yawned, or 
even looked up. If affecting passages were read, they wept 
in silence, unless some over-charged heart relieved itself by 
an involuntary sob. If the happiness of heaven was de- 
scribed, a very gentle murmur sometimes intimated the 
satisfaction of the audience. No one Avas allowed to have 
more than enough for daily subsistence ; and so strict was 
the vow of poverty, that no man was allowed to say my 
tunic, or my sandal. Such expressions were punished with 
six lashes. Every one was obliged to do his share of the 
work. It was a proverb with them that a labouring monk 
was tempted by only one devil, but a lazy one with a 

These early Egyptian monks were generally true to their 
professions. They had no lands, or revenues, and would 
accept of none. It being discovered after the death of one 
of their number, that he had laid up a hundred shillings 
from the proceeds of his labour, they buried the money 


with him, repeating over his grave: "Thy money perish 
with thee." The discipline was exceedingly strict The 
slightest deviation from the rules was punished by penance 
of some kind, and more serious offences by incarceration 
and scourging. Unquestioning obedience to superiors was 
inculcated as the highest virtue, and was sometimes tested 
by extravagant trials ; such as being ordered to walk 
through a heated furnace, or to plant a staff in the ground, 
and water it till it blossomed. Complete suppression of all 
tli" natural affections was required. Cassia n tells the story 
of a man named Mucius, who begged, to be admitted to a 
monastery. He had with him a son of eight years old. 
They were placed in separate cells, lest the sight of the 
child should inspire a sinful degree of tenderness in his 
father's heart. The boy was dressed in rags, and left so 
filthy as to be a disgusting object even to parental love. 
He was frequently beaten, to ascertain whether any re- 
mains of " carnal affection " would force tears from his 
father's eyes. The historian says : " Nevertheless, for the 
love of Christ, and from the virtue of obedience, the heart 
of the father remained hard and unmoved." As a final 
test of his implicit submission, he was ordered to throw the 
child into the river. He proceeded to obey, as cheerfully 
as if it were the command of God ; exalted and strength- 
ened in his mind by the idea that he was imitating the 
example of Abraham. But the brethren interposed, and 
"as it were rescued the child from the waters." Cassian 
relates this as if it were the highest effort of Christian hero- 
ism ; and Mucius attained such holiness by this process of 
heart-stifling, that he became a bishop. 

Basil the Great travelled in Syria, Palestine, and Egypt, 
to make himself thoroughly acquainted with monastic 
rules. He returned to establish a monastery in the forests 
of Pontus, on a plan very similar to that of Pachomius. 
Basil agreed with him in disapproving of idle meditation. 
Prayer and psalm-singing had their stated seasons, but 
were not allowed to encroach on the hours appropriated to 
labour. The money obtained by the diligent pursuit of 


various trades, after defraying the expenses of their own 
very abstemious mode of life, was appropriated to the 
maintenance and education of orphans, of all classes and 
religions. Other children were received, if parents gave 
their consent, certified by witnesses; but none of these 
young pupils were compelled to take vows of celibacy. 
In all these institutions the ties of kindred were regarded 
as entirely subordinate to spiritual relationship. Basil 
pronounced him "a slave to carnal nature," who loved a 
brother in blood more than a brother in the religious com- 
munity. He lived twelve years in the monastery endowed 
with his wealth, and strictly conformed to its rules of 
poverty and abstinence. After he was chosen Archbishop 
of Caesarea, he made frequent journeys to visit such asso- 
ciations, and wrote them many letters of advice and 

The later Fathers expressed unbounded admiration for 
these institutions, where many of them passed more or less 
of their time. The following extract from the writings of 
Gregory of Nazianzen sounds very much like the praises 
of holy anchorites, which abound in the ancient Sacred 
Books of Hindostan : " How dearly do I love to represent 
to myself a pious hermit, who has subjugated his senses to 
the dominion of reason; who, though still confined to 
earth, yet stands on its outmost boundary ; and who from 
day to day emancipates himself from the ties by which he 
may yet be linked to human beings. Elevated above ex- 
ternal objects, breathing a life altogether spiritual, he has 
relinquished commerce with men, except what may be re- 
quired by the duties of charity, or the actual necessities of 
life. He communes with his own thoughts ; he occupies 
himself with God ; he has neither voice nor language for 
anything, but to converse with Him, to bless and glorify 
Him. Solely bent on the discovery and contemplation of 
eternal truth, he catches it at intervals, in characters of 
radiant light ; and the sublime and lofty ideas he conceives 
of its perfections remain imprinted on his mind, free from 
all the fugitive deceptive phantoms and shadows, with 


which tlicy would be obscured by earthly things. Thus 
the interior of his soul becomes a mirror, in which God is 
pleased to refled the rays of his divinity, and to manif 
the splendours of his glory. Joined to blessed Spirits in 
this region of light and peace, he maintains celestial inter- 
course with them, and feeds upon his grand and solid 
hopes of a future life." 

Basil says: "Let us suppose a solitude like the desert, 
in which I now am ; where the pious exercises of a reli- 
gious life, uninterrupted by outward things, afford con- 
tinual nourishment to the soul. Can you imagine felicity 
more desirable than that of imitating on earth the life that 
angels lead in heaven ? To commence the day with prayers 
and sacred hymns, to mingle with our labour the holy 
songs which make it still more pleasant, and diffuse per- 
petual serenity. We become purified by this majestic 
equilibrium in the movements of our souls ; by not per- 
mitting the tongue to indulge in idle conversation ; the 
eyes to dwell on the vain glory of outward things ; the 
ears to introduce to the soul anything effeminate or frivo- 
lous, like mere earthly music, or the heartless jests of 
trifling minds. The soul, secured by these precautions 
from outward distractions, and the temptations of the senses, 
elevates itself to contemplation of the Deity. Enlightened 
by the rays, which shine forth from his Divine Essence, it 
rises above its own weakness ; freed from temporal cares, 
corporeal necessities, and the affections of earth, it devotes 
all its powers to the search after immortal good." 

Chrysostom says : " The stars in the firmament are not 
so numerous as the solitaries in Egypt. With them, con- 
templation is not idleness. Not contented with renouncing 
earthly things, with being crucified to the world, they 
exercise their bodies with laborious occupations, the pro- 
duce of which, distributed by the hands of charity, contri- 
butes to the support of the poor. In the night, they 
watch, and sing praises to the Lord. During the day, 
they pray and labour with their hands, copying the ex- 
ample of the great Apostle. If St. Paul, occupied as he 


was with the government of all the churches, could yet 
find time for manual labour, how much more are men re- 
moved from the tumult and distraction of cities called 
upon to occupy their leisure with everything that may be 
useful to others, as well as to themselves. Thus do these 
virtuous solitaries argue. Before the day has dawned, an- 
ticipating the orb of light, they are already on their feet, 
singing praises to the Creator. More fortunate than Adam 
himself in his terrestrial Paradise, and comparable to the 
angels alone, they sing with them, ' Grlory to God in the 
highest, and on earth peace and good- will toward men.' " 

The "majestic equilibrium," which Basil praised so 
highly, and which was preserved in the monasteries under 
his guidance, did not long continue a characteristic of 
monastic life. Ancient Egypt shared the temperament, as 
well as the theology, of Hindostan. To the high, bright 
tone of aspiration there always echoed a minor third of 
sadness. There was something of exuberance in their 
whole character ; a tendency to excess, in festivity and in 
penitence. In both countries the climate produced such 
results, as it did lotus blossoms and deadly serpents. The 
hot sunshine of Africa poured fire into the temperaments, 
and thence into the theology, of Tertullian and Augustine. 
"When Christianity was introduced into that part of the 
world, it took a character of extravagant zeal, and rigid 
asceticism. No other Christians fasted so often and so 
long, as those of the North African churches. There the 
Donatists and Montanists wrought themselves up to a 
frenzy of devotion and a furor of intolerance. In that 
region, above all others, it was natural that monasticism 
should first unite itself with Christianity. It was also 
natural that the same asceticism, which introduced the in- 
stitution, should soon manifest itself in excesses similar to 
those practised by the devotees of Hindostan. An Alex- 
andrian named Heron, who joined a company of hermits 
in the Desert of Nitria, often lived there months on no- 
thing but wild herbs and the bread of the eucharist. He 
frequently travelled thirty miles into the desert, under a 


scorching sun, without food or drink, constantly repeating 
passages of Scripture. Perpetual contemplation of his own 
state of mind induced a belief that he had arrived at spiri- 
tual perfection, and could not possibly commit sin. From 
this there was an extreme reaction. The string of the bow 
snapped from extremity of tension. He was seized with 
an uncontrollable restlessness. He returned to Alexan- 
dria, and plunged into all sorts of amusement and sen- 
suality. Excessive dissipation brought on severe illness; 
and after terrible struggles, mental and physical, he at last 
attained to a calm and cheerful state of mind. Arsenius, 
a learned man, who had been tutor to the emperor Arca- 
dius, became disgusted with the world, and retired into 
the desert. He contrived to invent a method of discomfort 
from the quiet and useful employment of mat-weaving. 
The water in which the leaves were soaked he changed 
but once a year; considering the foetid smell a suitable 
penance for the perfumes he had enjoyed when he was a 
courtier. On Saturday evening, it was his custom to lie 
down at the setting of the sun, and continue in fervent 
prayer till the rising sun shone full upon his face. Onofrio 
lived in a deep cave in the deserts around Thebes. For 
sixty years, he never saw a human being, or uttered a 
single word, except in prayer. He wore no covering, ex- 
cept a few twisted leaves. His hair and beard grew uncut, 
till he resembled a wild beast. In this state, a hermit, 
who was travelling, discovered him crawling on the 
ground, and was doubtful what sort of animal it might be. 
When he discovered that it was a human being, and 
learned the privations and sufferings he had endured for 
more than half a century, he was filled with wonder and 
reverence, and fell at his feet to receive a blessing. John 
of Lueopolis formed a small cell for himself on the summit 
of a lofty mountain in Thebais. There he lived fifty years, 
without opening his door, without seeing the face of a 
woman, and without tasting any food prepared by cooking. 
Five days of the week he spent in silent meditation and 
secret prayer. On Saturdays and Sundays, he opened a 


small window, and gave audience to the crowd of sup- 
pliants, who came to him from all quarters, to have devils 
expelled, diseases cured, and the future predicted. He 
answered their questions, and drew up with a string the 
fruit and vegetables supplied by their charity. Theodosius 
the Great sent a messenger to him to inquire what would 
be the result of his projected war with Eugenius. He re- 
spectfully proposed the question, and received assurance 
of a certain though bloody victory. This greatly excited 
the emperor, and stimulated the courage of his troops to 
verify the prediction. The prosperous result greatly in- 
creased John's fame as a prophet. 

Hermits generally lived in low, narrow, wooden huts, 
with a palm-leaf mat on the ground, and a bundle of leaves 
for a pillow. Some constructed cells in such a way that 
they were compelled to sit doubled up in a most uncom- 
fortable manner. Some exposed themselves to the fury 
of storms and sunshine, unsheltered, on the tops of moun- 
tains. Some lived in deep caves, where not a ray of light 
could penetrate; some in the clefts of steep, inaccessible 
rocks ; some in the most retired chambers of ancient tombs; 
some in the dens of wild beasts ; and some in iron cages, 
with weights hung to their arms or feet. Some retired to 
districts where no rain fell, and where they could obtain 
no drink but the dew, which they lapped up from the 
rocks. Some never cut their nails, or combed their hair or 
beard. Some wore a coarse garment unwashed, until it 
dropped off m rags ; others were partially screened by a 
few plaited leaves ; others were entirely uncovered, except 
by their long flowing hair, which they never cut. Sleep, 
being a refreshment to the body, was regarded as sinful. 
One hour of unbroken slumber was deemed sufficient. 
They were wakened by each other often in the night to 
attend prayers and watch ; the precise time being deter- 
mined by the position of the stars. They lived on berries, 
roots, and vegetables, drank water only, and even from 
this abstemious diet fasted often ; sometimes for days in 
succession. If, by any accident, they happened to look 
Vol. Ill— 21 l 


upon a woman, they Inflicted upon themselves severe pen- 
ance for the crime, One of them allowed his sister to visit 
him, at her urgent entreaty; bul he shut his eyes during 
the whole interview. The natural instincts which they 
tried so zealously to repress acquired exaggerated impor- 
tance in their imaginations. This is manifested in the sor- 
rowful struggles recorded by the gentle Gregory of Nazi- 
anzen ; in the general testimony of monks and anchorites 
that the devils had a peculiar proneness to appear to them 
in the forms of women ; and in the following passionate 
outburst of confession from Jerome: "Oh, how often in 
the desert, in that vast solitude, parched by the sultry sun, 
did I fancy myself in the midst of luxurious Rome! 
Plunged in an abyss of bitterness, I have thrown myself 
on the floor of my solitary cell. My limbs were rough 
with the friction of coarse hair-cloth ; my skin, dried and 
blackened in the sun, was like that of an Ethiopian, and 
my complexion was livid as a corpse. I groaned and wept 
throughout the day ; and if, in spite of my resistance, 
drowsiness overcame me at night, my bones, which scarcely 
held together, clashed on the naked earth. I say nothing 
of my food. In the deserts, even those who are ill never 
permit themselves to drink anything but water. If they 
took anything that required the aid of fire in its prepara- 
tion, they would accuse themselves of sensuality. Yet 
even I, who, from fear of hell, had condemned myself to 
this dungeon, with no other companions than scorpions 
and wild beasts, often imagined myself in the midst of 
dancing girls. Fires boiled up in this body prematurely 
dead. Criminal remembrances, desires, and regrets, over- 
whelmed me. I shrunk from my very cell, seeming to 
dread its walls as the accomplices of my thoughts. I pene- 
trated to the inmost recesses of the desert, or wandered on 
the summits of mountains, or hid myself in the cavities of 
rocks. I went and came, not knowing where to seek re- 
fuge from myself, until at last I threw myself at the foot 
of the cross, bathing it with my tears, that flowed in 
rivers, and which I wiped with my hair. I strove to sub- 


due my rebellious nature by fasting a whole week. I fre- 
quently passed entire nights uttering loud cries, until the 
Lord himself dispersed the tempest that raged within me, 
and restored peace to my soul." 

The tendency to asceticism, which had strongly mani- 
fested itself in the Syrian sects of Gnostics, produced the 
extremest results when monasticism prevailed in that coun- 
try. In Syria and Mesopotamia were bands of hermits 
called Graziers, because they fed only on grass and herbs. 
They lived unsheltered in the forests, or on the sides of 
mountains, continually praying and singing psalms. When 
the stated hour for eating arrived, each one took a knife 
and cut as many herbs as he wanted ; and this was the 
only care they took for temporal concerns. 

Simeon Stylites. — A Syrian shepherd named Simeon 
devoted himself to the austere life of a hermit when he 
was only thirteen years old. It is recorded that he once 
caused himself to be locked up in a cell, to fulfil a vow he 
had made to fast forty days. He persisted in his resolu- 
tion, though a friend took the precaution to place bread 
and water within his reach. He was found senseless, but 
survived. For twenty-eight years he went without food 
one hundred days in the course of each year. During his 
protracted fasts, he stood till he could stand no longer, 
then sat, but at last fell down half dead. Finally, he took 
up his residence on the top of a column, nine feet high, 
and seven in circumference. There he stood for nine 
years, like an image on its pedestal. As the pillar admit- 
ted of no other posture than standing, he tied himself to a 
beam fastened to it, to prevent falling when he underwent 
very severe fasts. He afterward ascended a column sixty 
feet high, and only three in diameter at top. It was about 
thirty miles from the city of Antioch. There he stood 
twenty-eight years, enduring the scorching sunshine of 
the climate, and the cold of winter. He was called 
Stylites, from a Greek word meaning a column. He made 
but one meal in a week, and that a very light one. When 


he slept, he leaned against a sort of balustrade. lie spent 
the day in prayer till three o'clock in the afternoon, then 
preached to the audiences collected round the foot of his 
column, and answered the various requests that wore 
brought to him. By practice, he had learned to assume 
various attitudes while engaged in prayer. On solemn 
festivals of the church, he stood with his hands stretched 
out, so as to resemble a cross, from the setting of the sun 
to its rising, without a wink of sleep. While praying, he 
continually bowed so low as to touch his toes with his 
head. These performances excited the wonder and admi- 
ration of spectators. One of them counted his bowings, 
till he came to twelve hundred and forty-four, and then he 
gave up the task. LTis pillar was constantly surrounded 
by crow r ds of invalids, who besought his prayers and went 
away miraculously cured. Devotees from all parts of the 
world, even from India and Arabia, came to obtain his 
blessing. Churches often sent delegates to ask his advice, 
which he gave in the form of letters. Theodosius the 
Younger frequently consulted him, both in political and 
theological emergencies. Theodoret, bishop of Cyrus, the 
pious historian of that period, says : " The holy Simeon, 
being placed in a middle region, as it were, between hea- 
ven and earth, conversed with God, and glorified him 
with the angels; offering up supplications from man to 
God, and drawing down blessings from heaven for men." 
He testifies to many miracles performed by Simeon, of 
which he says he was himself a witness. He heard him 
foretell a famine, a pestilence, and a destructive irruption 
of locusts : all of which took place. He likewise correctly 
foretold the death of one of Theodoret's enemies a fortnight 
before it happened. A man who made a vow to God, in 
the presence of Simeon, never to eat animal food, was after- 
ward tempted to eat a chicken ; but when he tried to taste 
it, the flesh turned to stone. Theodoret says there were 
many eye-witnesses of this miracle, who handled the fowl, 
and found the breast to be a compound of bone and stone. 
This celebrated devotee expired on his column, about the 


year four hundred and sixty. During. the thirty-seven 
years he passed in this manner, he was seldom left in 
solitude. In addition to the innumerable people cured 
by his prayers, it is recorded that some were cured by 
his touch. His miracles converted many to Christianity, 
and the celebrity he acquired induced many anchorites 
to imitate his mode of penance. The highest digni- 
taries of church and state formed a procession to convey 
his body to Antioch; and the possession of it was con- 
sidered a greater safeguard to the city than walls or 

Of course, these unnatural modes of life tended to irri- 
tate the nerves and bewilder the mind. Effects similar to 
those produced on the ancient anchorites of Hindostan are 
recorded concerning Christian ascetics. Considering every 
pleasant reminiscence, and natural impulse, as a tempta- 
tion of the Devil, they lived in a perpetual state of vigilant 
anxiety, or mournful contrition. Feeble in body, and ex- 
cited in mind, they doubtless saw fiery visions, which they 
supposed to be Evil Spirits, and heard mysterious noises, 
which they mistook for the howling and hissing of Demons. 
The places they chose for their residence also contributed 
to render their imaginations more impressible. Night 
settling down over the vast solitude of the desert; mighty 
mountains, shrouded in dark clouds, revealed by fitful 
flashes of lightning ; shrieks of the stormy winds ; howl- 
ings of wild beasts ; the fantastic shadows of moonlight ; 
to hear and see all these, and be alone with them, for ever 
alone, required great strength both of body and mind. 
And even without external sources of solemnity and awe, 
the firm belief that fiends were always lurking near them, 
to tempt their unwary souls to hell, was of itself enough 
to drive men mad, when made a subject of perpetual con- 
templation. Some grew sceptical about the existence of a 
God, or of themselves. They regarded all things as phan- 
toms, and creation as a self-moving show. Some rushed 
into furious licentiousness, from the idea that where the 
soul was holy, the body could commit no sin. Insanity 
Vol. III.— 21* 


manifested itself in so many forms, that in the sixth cen- 
tury it became necessary to establish a hospital at Jeru- 
salem for Lunatic devotees. But indefinite degrees of 
insanity often passed for inspiration; and multitudes con- 
tinued to be attracted toward a mode of life, which gave 
them such influence over their fellow men. The degree of 
veneration paid to Christian hermits and monks appears to 
have been fully equal to what was accorded to the ancient 
anchorites of Hindostan, when the world was many centu- 
ries younger. The holiest of these devotees were believed 
to be invested with miraculous power, which in many 
cases was imparted to the garments they had worn, the 
staffs with which they walked, and the vessels they had 
handled. It was supposed that they could cast out devils 
by their prayers ; cure diseases by a touch, a word, or even 
a distant message ; perceive the secret thoughts of men ; 
foretell future events ; cause iron to swim, and dead trees 
to blossom ; pass safely through fire ; handle serpents un- 
injured ; and compel devils and wild beasts to obey their 
commands. All these things are recorded as of frequent 
occurrence in the lives of remarkable saints. The bishop 
Theodoret, a man of learning, benevolence, and sincere 
piety, was in fhe constant habit of visiting celebrated her- 
mits in their caves, and monks in their cells. He thus 
made a great collection of their maxims and miracles, 
which he recorded in his Ecclesiastical History. He af- 
firms that both himself and his father were often cured of 
distempers, by applying a piece of the girdle of a holy 
monk named Peter, " whose garments wrought wonders, 
like those of the Apostle Paul." He tells of a noble and 
wealthy lady at Antioch, who became delirious, could not 
recognize the members of her own family, and obstinately 
refused to eat or drink. It was generally believed that 
she was possessed by a devil ; but physicians said she had 
a disease on the brain. All medical aid having proved 
vain, her husband applied to a celebrated monk, named 
Macedonius. When the holy man entered the room, he 
addressed a fervent prayer to God, and ordered some cold 


water to be brought. As the physicians had forbidden 
her to drink water, he requested every one to leave the 
apartment; he then made the sign of the cross over a 
goblet of water, and himself gave it to the lady to drink. 
As soon as she had swallowed it, her senses began to re- 
turn. She recognized the Holy Father, reverently kissed 
his hand, and soon recovered her health completely. 
Whatever these renowned devotees said concerning theo- 
logical doctrine, or modes of worship, was supposed to be 
expressly revealed to them by the Holy Spirit, and was 
therefore obeyed as reverently as had been the oracles of 
Ammon, and of Urim and Thummim. Emperors visited 
them in their cells, to consult them on affairs of state ; 
their benediction was esteemed an important prelude to 
every great undertaking; and they were frequently sum- 
moned from seclusion to preside in episcopal palaces. It 
would have been altogether inconsistent with the constitu- 
tion of human nature, if such extreme adulation and pro- 
found deference had not excited spiritual pride. Symptoms 
of it do in fact abound. Simeon Stylites had a vision of a 
flaming chariot from heaven, guided by an angel toward 
his column. The angel urged him to ascend the chariot, 
saying the Heavenly Spirits were longing to' receive him. 
Simeon had already placed his right foot on the step, 
when it was suggested to him to take the precaution of 
making the sign of the cross. He did so, and immediately 
the chariot vanished ; being a mere phantom sent by Satan 
to deceive him. His right foot was sprained, and he said 
it was done in his attempt to mount the visionary vehicle. 
Some monks, whose minds were better balanced, regretted 
the excessive tendencies of many of their brethren, and 
occasionally cautioned them against the results. Nilus 
thus addressed one of the imitators of Simeon : " Whoever 
exalts himself shall be abased. You have done nothing 
worthy of commendation, in having stationed yourself on 
a lofty pillar; yet you covet the greatest praise. Look to 
it, lest you be extravagantly lauded by mortals, and here- 
after be obliged to appear wretched before the eternal God, 


because you were intoxicated here by the undeserved 
praise of men. 

Extravagances of asceticism were generally more con- 
spicuous anion-- anchorites of the deserts and mountains, 

than in the monasteries. Such restitutions wen.' often 

under the guidance of wise and prudent men, and in the 
beginning, visionary tendencies were much checked by the 
salutary influence of useful occupation. But the industrial 
character of the early establishments soon changed. An 
idea began to prevail that buying and selling was detri- 
mental to holiness, by occupying the mind too much with 
external affairs, and bringing saints into contact with world- 
ly men. Martin, who was afterward bishop, established a 
monastery in a very secluded spot, about two miles from 
Tours. It was enclosed between a river and precipitous- 
mountains. There was but one way of access to it, and 
that was extremely narrow. He began with eighty dis- 
ciples, most of whom lived in holes they had scooped out 
among the steep rocks. Himself, and some others, con- 
structed very small wooden cells for their habitations. 
They raised barely enough for their own scanty subsis- 
tence. There was no buying or selling, to create a fund 
for charity, as in other monasteries. The elder members 
of the community did nothing but read the Scriptures 
and pray, and the juniors copied the Scriptures, and the 
Lives of Saints. They all wore coarse garments of camel's 
hair, fasted often, and rarely left their cells, except to as- 
semble for prayer. The biographer of Martin says: 
"What made this more wonderful, was that many of them 
belonged to noble families, and had been far differently 
educated. Most of them subsequently became bishops; 
for what city or church could do otherwise than desire to 
have pastors from the monastery of Martin?" There 
gradually grew up classes of monks who gave especial 
prominence to the Hindoo doctrine of a divine intuitive 
science, obtained by those who had completely subjugated 
the senses. They thought they had attained to a state of 
spiritual perfection, which no longer needed the Scripture, 


or any other external aid : that they were a sufficient law 
unto themselves, being constantly guided by immediate 
revelations of the Holy Spirit. They considered labour a 
degradation to the soul, and lived by alms only. These 
were the origin of what were afterward called Mendicant 
Friars. "What might at first have originated in sincere 
fanaticism, before long degenerated into shameless impos- 
ture. Tribes of importunate beggars roamed about the 
country in monkish costume, committing all manner of 
licentiousness and deception, and often robbing the chari- 
table who sheltered them. This was carried to such an 
extent, that in some places monks came to be regarded as a 
nuisance. When a band of them came from Jerusalem to 
Carthage, about the middle of the fifth century, the popu- 
lace ridiculed and cursed them, as they passed through the 
streets. So loud was the remonstrance against the abuses 
of monasticism, that Chrysostom was obliged to write seve- 
ral books in defence of the system. But through evil re- 
port and through good report, these associations continued 
to spread, till they covered the whole face of the Christian 
world. Jerome estimated the number of monks and an- 
chorites in Egypt only, at seventy -six thousand in his time. 
There were at that period five thousand monks in the 
Deserts of Nitria, near Alexandria, who could be imme- 
diately rallied by sound of trumpet to attack Jews, Pagans, 
or heretics. They often committed terrible devastations 
under the covering of zeal for religion. The abstraction 
of such large and ever-increasing numbers of men from the 
various trades and occupations also became a serious evil. 
The emperor Valens published an edict, in which he styled 
the monks " those followers of idleness," and commanded 
that they should serve in the army. 

The idea that the perfection of human nature consisted 
in complete estrangement from the senses was oriental 
in its origin, and thoroughly oriental in its character. 
It did not find its way into Europe, till introduced with 
Christianity. Some tendency that way was indeed indi- 
cated by the general celibacy and extreme temperance 


of philosophers. But this element, which they brought 
from Egypt, was tempered by the active and joyous 
spirit of Greece, and by the restraining sense of Roman 
dignity. The grove in which Plato taught was full of 
beautiful statues, and he always wore stainless garments of 
fine and soft material. His followers the New Platonists, 
though tending more and more to oriental doctrines, were 
always gentlemen in dress and manners. The majestic 
and the beautiful was the pervading character of Grecian 
and Roman temples, and their houses were adorned with 
images of joy and grace, such as dancing nymphs, frolic- 
some Cupids and laughing Bacchantes. Among people 
descended from such ancestry, monasticism could not fail 
to meet with some repulsion. A monk was never seen in 
Rome, till Athanasius introduced a few of the companions 
of Anthony the Hermit, in the year three hundred and 
forty. Their emaciated bodies, dirty dress, and matted 
hair, excited horror and disgust, which was very slowly 
conquered by stories of their superior sanctity and super- 
natural power. "When Jerome went there, a little more 
than forty years afterward, he found that the yery few who 
had been converted to the monastic practices taught by 
Athanasius, were regarded by the Roman people as " igno- 
minious and vile." But his fervent exhortations soon 
kindled wonderful enthusiasm on the subject. Roman 
Senators r wealthy matrons, and beautiful young maidens 
of patrician rank, were seized with longing to leave their 
luxurious palaces, and purchase eternal happiness and 
glory, by renouncing all the pleasures of the world in some 
narrow cell of a monastery. The zeal thus kindled caused 
a great deal of domestic disappointment and unhappiness. 
There had always been moro converts to Christianity 
among women, than among men. It often happened that 
noble Romans retained their attachment to the old wor- 
ship, while their wives and daughters were Christians. 
Young men, influenced by their mothers and sisters, sud- 
denly resolved to become monks, when their fathers had 
opened for them a brilliant career as lawyers, magistrates, 


or military officers ; and the pride of patrician friends was 
mortified to see them exchange their elegant and perfumed 
robes for the squalid dress of monks, and in lieu of digni- 
fied offices occupy themselves with weaving mats and bas- 
kets. Beautiful young girls, for whom wealthy marriages 
had been arranged, took upon themselves vows of per- 
petual celibacy, and no persuasion or threats could change 
their purpose ; the vexation of ambitious relatives, and the 
grief of affectionate parents, were extreme. All who did 
not share the enthusiasm detested monks in general, and 
Jerome in particular. It was much the same in other 
cities. In Constantinople, parents appealed to the govern- 
ment to have some legal measures taken to prevent their 
children from being persuaded to desert their homes. But 
Chrysostom preached from the pulpit of Santa Sophia that 
all who thus wished to expose their offspring to the temp- 
tations of the world must expect misery here, and eternal 
perdition hereafter. The number and wealth of the monas- 
teries increased continually ; for in Christian countries, as 
it had always been in Hindostan, alms given to a monk 
was considered as so much paid toward the salvation of the 
donor's soul. They gradually monopolized the practice of 
medicine, as had been done among Hindoos and Buddhists. 
They cured diseases by their prayers and exorcisms, and 
they cultivated a knowledge of herbs to assist their miracu- 
lous power. 

There were Christians who strongly remonstrated against 
these doctrines and customs. Jovinian of Eome, though 
himself a monk, disapproved the exaggerated importance 
awarded to celibacy. He urged that it was by no means 
peculiarly Christian, since the priests of Isis and of Cj^bele 
always took upon themselves a similar vow. He said the 
union of Christ and his church would never have been 
typified by marriage, if there were anything wrong in the 
relation. He exhorted those who chose to lead a single 
life, for the sake of freedom from worldly cares, to be care- 
ful not to pride themselves upon it, as a great merit and 
distinction ; since the married could be truly religious also. 


Jovinian appeals to have been one of those men, whose 
good sense restrains them from extremes. Jerome could 
not accuse him of selfish reasons for depreciating the 
value of celibacy; for be scrupulously observed his own 
monastic vow. But he reproached him with wearing clean 
linen garments, and making frequent use of the bath; 
as if cleanliness were incompatible with religion. Vigi- 
lantius, who so greatly exasperated Jerome by protesting 
against invocations to martyrs, and the burning of lamps 
before their relics, likewise provoked his wrath by writing 
against the doctrine that celibacy was essential to holiness. 
He maintained that there was no authority for it in the 
teaching of Christ, or the Apostles. He urged that Paul 
had merely required bishops and deacons to have but one 
wife, and that he sanctioned the election of a bishop who 
had a wife and children. He protested against monastic 
life, as a desertion of social and domestic duties, and as a 
warfare with nature, well calculated to produce secret im- 
morality. He denied that virgins had any higher merit 
than widows, or married women, unless they excelled them 
in good works ; and he maintained that it would be far 
more acceptable to God to spend money judiciously for the 
industrious poor at home, than to send alms to indolent 
monks at Jerusalem. These views gained favour with 
many minds. They were approved by some even among 
the clergy, who candidly admitted that excess of rigour did 
produce secret licentiousness. But this opposition served 
to stimulate zeal on the other side, and failed to arrest the 
progress of monasticism. 


It has been stated that in very early times there were 
individuals, both among men and women, who voluntarily 
devoted themselves to a single life, for the sake of more 
leisure for religious pursuits. These "virgins of the 
church," as they were called, generally lived in Christian 
families, and assisted in the care of the household. Cyprian 
calls these celibates, " the flower of the ecclesiastical tree ; 


the most illustrious portion of Christ's flock;' 1 and tells 
them that the best mansion in the Heavenly Father's 
house is reserved for them. It was early the custom for 
women thus dedicated to live in the houses of clergymen, 
whether married or unmarried. Many of them were poor, 
and were glad to obtain a comfortable home by the man- 
agement of household affairs ; and to the sincerely devout 
among them the opportunities for religious instruction, 
which such situations afforded, would doubtless be very 
precious. The title of M spiritual sister," usually bestowed 
upon them, would naturally be attractive, from the spiri- 
tual equality it expressed. Such a mutually helpful rela- 
tion might have been generally pure and salutary in the 
primitive days, when there were no Christians except those 
who became so through conscientious conviction. But 
after a time, it became customary for these virgins to re- 
ceive pecuniary assistance, from the church, and this would 
naturally induce many to join, ^ho had no higher motive 
than selfishness. That some of them were not very se- 
riously impressed is implied by Cyprian's finding it neces- 
sary to preach to them against painting their faces, and 
colouring their hair of the fashionable tint. He asks if 
they are not afraid their Maker will not know them for his 
own work, when their bodies rise from the dead. Under 
such circumstances, their residence in the houses of un- 
married clergymen would naturally give rise to suspicion. 
Cyprian says: " The church often complains of her virgins, 
and groans at the scandalous stories told of them. Their 
glory and dignity are profaned." He gave orders that 
those who were living in the houses of unmarried clergy- 
men should immediately depart. Several of the Fathers 
allude to the custom with disapprobation. Jerome, who 
never sacrificed strength to delicacy, describes it in coarse, 
sarcastic terms. Basil wrote to an old presbyter of his 
diocese to dismiss his "spiritual sister," though he was 
seventy years old, lest his example should prove a stum- 
bling-block to younger ecclesiastics. The Council of Nice 
formally condemned the practice, and forbade clergymen 
Vol. III.— 22 


to have any woman reside in the same house with them, 
except a mother, sister, or aunt. But the evil had be- 
come so extensive and deeply rooted, that the emperor was 
obliged to pass very strict laws on the subject. 

When Pachomius established the first monastery, he 
likewise founded a separate institution for women vowed 
to celibacy. They received the name of nuns, from a 
Coptic word signifying mother ; a term of respect, applied 
to them, as holy father was to the monks. As women had 
few profitable employments, Pachomius made it a rule 
that the expenses of the nunneries should be defrayed by 
the monasteries. Women were as emulous of this kind of 
sanctity as men. Jerome says there were nearly twenty- 
eight thousand nuns in Egypt in his day. When Athan- 
asius introduced monks at Pome, they proselyted a lady 
named Marcella, who with a few other devout women re- 
tired into seclusion, and devotqd Jierself to celibacy and 
prayer. But that mode* of life "had not then become 
fashionable at Rome, and her example was not praised or 
followed. When Basil the Great established his monastery 
in Pontus, he built a nunnery on the other side of the 
river, where his mother and his sister Macrina presided 
over a community of pious women. The three sisters of 
Theodosius the Great made a vow of perpetual celibacy, 
which was inscribed on a golden tablet set with gems, and 
presented by them to the cathedral at Constantinople. 
They lived in religious community with a company of de- 
vout maidens, who had taken the same vow. They were 
exceedingly abstemious, fasted often, and spent their time 
praying and singing Psalms. Their example was eulogized 
as the perfection of human virtue. The enthusiasm for 
monastic life, which Jerome's preaching excited at Rome, 
was peculiarly conspicuous among women. His argument, 
that " as the Lord had angels to attend upon him in heaven, 
he ought also to have angels devoted to him on earth," 
proved very attractive to young maidens, who felt a de- 
gree of spiritual dignity in resolving to become "the 
spouse of Christ." Jerome was fond of applying to this 


subject all the glowing descriptions of the bridegroom in 
the Song of Solomon ; and if he had been painting earthly- 
love with a free pen, some of his pictures could scarcely 
have been more impassioned. This mingling of earth and 
heaven in his eloquence had a powerful influence over the 
devout and susceptible nature of women. Under its in- 
fluence, the young, the beautiful, and the wealthy, re- 
nounced the world and its pleasures, assumed coarse 
garments, and devoted themselves to poverty, chastity, 
and obedience. Ambrose had similar success in his dio- 
cese. Many parents tried to keep their daughters out of 
hearing of his eloquence, lest he should induce them all to 
become nuns. The most distinguished among Jerome's 
converts at Rome were the widow Paula, and her daughter 
Eustochium, descendants of the Scipios and the Gracchi. 
Paula impoverished her own family, to bestow her great 
wealth on the church. The enemies of Jerome attributed 
his influence over them to human love. He admitted that 
both the ladies were attached to him, but solemnly denied 
that he ever made any base or selfish use of his influence. 
They left kindred, friends, and country, and accompanied 
by a number of women, who were excited by a similar re- 
ligious enthusiasm, they joined Jerome and a band of 
monks in a pilgrimage to Bethlehem. There Paula built 
and endowed a monastery and two nunneries. Jerome 
presided over the first, and herself and Eustochium over 
the others. When she left Rome, a younger daughter and 
a little son watched her departure with looks of sorrowful 
intreaty. But without turning to take a farewell glance, 
she raised her tearless eyes to heaven, and went forth to 
the Holy Land. Jerome eulogizes this as the sublimest 
height of self-denying piety. Paula died in her nunnery, 
and he boasted that she did not leave a farthing to her 
daughter, but many debts. 

The Fathers were lavish in their praises of women who 
thus dedicated themselves to the Lord. Jerome calls 
monks and nuns " the precious gems and flowers of the 
church." He says: "Marriage replenishes the earth, but 


virginiU B heaven." u There must be vessels of 

wood and of earthen, as well as of gold and of silver." 
Chrysostom says : " Transport yourself in imagination into 
Egypt You will there sec a new Paradise, more beauti- 
ful than the richest gardens; innumerable troops of angels 
in human forms; entire nations of martyrs and virgins*. 
There the weaker sex rival the most fervent solitaries in 
their virtues. A holy phalanx of pious Amazons, not 
armed, as of old, with bucklers and javelins, keep them- 
selves continually on their guard against an enemy the 
most subtle and dangerous of any." Elsewhere, he says : 
" It is a life worthy of heaven, and not inferior to that of 

It was the same with Christianity as it always has been 
with all sects. In the beginning all the members of it 
were in earnest ; all were deeply impressed by the new as- 
pects of truths presented to their minds ; in a word, all 
were religious. But after Christianity was patronized by 
the state, multitudes received it as an inheritance, or merely 
adopted it as a custom. It was easy to do so, because the 
church itself laid so much stress on external ceremonies, 
such as baptism, the Lord's Supper, and the sign of the 
cross. To these was added the old Hindoo idea that dona- 
tions to priests, and alms to monks, were so much paid 
toward the expiation of sins and the increase of future re- 
wards. The more Christianity set itself up in opposition 
to nature, and demanded entire suppression of the instincts 
and affections, the more the separation widened between 
the worldly class and the religious. Hindoo rationalists 
and moralists had asked, centuries before, how the business 
of the world was to get on if all devoted themselves to ce- 
libacy and contemplation. The same theory introduced 
into Christianity gave rise to similar reflections. The re- 
sult was, that men engaged in active pursuits came to 
regard religion as incompatible with the necessary busi- 
ness of life ; as an affair belonging to priests and monks 
only. They supposed their own duties adequately per- 
formed if they paid the consecrated class for the perform- 


mance of ceremonies, which they declared to be essential 
to salvation. If such men were exhorted to become sober 
and devout, it was common for them to reply: "I have 
worldly duties to perform ; I am neither priest nor monk." 
Augustine, alluding to this line of separation, says: "As 
the Pagan who would be a Christian hears rude words from 
the Pagans, so he among the Christians who is striving to 
lead a better and more conscientious life must expect to 
hear himself mocked by Christians themselves, who will 
say : l You are really a very righteous man ; a second 
Elijah or Peter; you must have descended from heaven.' " 
Elsewhere he says : "As soon as a man begins to despise 
the world, to refrain from revenging injuries, and from the 
accumulation of riches, to walk faithfully in the ways of 
Christ, and think of nothing but God, we must expect 
Christians themselves to remark : ' What is the man about? 
What can have entered into his head ?' " 


It has been already stated that Justin Martyr, Clement 
of Alexandria, Origen, and others of the early Fathers, had 
such reverence for Plato, that they thought he must have 
been inspired by a degree of the Logos, which inspired the 
Hebrew Scriptures. Some of the later Fathers retained a 
portion of this feeling. Eusebius says: "Plato alone, of 
all the Greeks, reached to the vestibule of truth, and stood 
upon its threshold." Lactantius calls him " the wisest of 
all philosophers." Augustine declares that any Platonist 
might become a Christian by merely changing a few words 
and sentences. But this very similarity, combined with 
the eclectic tendency of the new Platonists, induced an in- 
creasing hostility to philosophy, and to classic literature in 
general, as a polished and insidious enemy, likely to de- 
stroy the individuality of Christianity by fusing all systems 
together. Jerome says : " The vain words of philosophy, 
in the doctrines of Plato, kill the infants of the church, and 
are turned to divine vengeance and blood to them." He 
Vol. III.— 22* 


has himself told us that he was so in love with the rich, 
harmonious Greek, and the majestic Latin, that he tried to 
do penance for his besetting sin, with "the hisses of Ile- 
v ;" and thai angels were obliged to come to his assist- 
ance and scourge it out of him. Yet some of the old 
leaven seems to have remained after that castigation; for 
he always continued to quote the classics. Kufinus, seek- 
ing to heap accusations on him, brings it against him, as a 
very serious charge, that he employed monks on the Mount 
of Olives to copy portions of Cicero. He says : " I have 
held the sheets in my own hands. I have read them. He 
cannot deny that when he came from Bethlehem, he brought 
one of Cicero's Dialogues with him ; and that, in his Greek 
Paganism, he gave me a volume of Plato." 

Lactantius complains that Pagans pertinaciously defen- 
ded their religion, because they derived it from their an- 
cestors ,- deeming it impiety to question what had been 
handed down from very ancient times ; that they reproached 
Christianity with being a new worship, unlike anything 
that had ever been approved by kings, lawgivers, or phi- 
losophers. To meet this objection, Christians claimed the 
revelations made to Hebrews as the fountain of their reli- 
gion, and affirmed that they were not only as old as the 
world, but were also the only revelations of divine truth 
that had ever been given to mankind, before the advent of 
Christ. Eusebius, in his efforts to give antiquity to Chris- 
tianity, affords a curious example how words may be 
pressed into the service of theological theories. He asserts 
that the Hebrew patriarchs had the same faith and the 
same worship as the Christians, and even the same name. 
To prove this position, he quotes : " The Lord said, Touch 
not mine anointed." As the word Christ signifies anoin- 
ted, he thence derives the inference that God called them 
Christs, or Christians. Augustine says : " What is true 
and good in the writings of Pagans should be used for the 
service of Christianity ; since it was not created by them- 
selves, but, like their gold and silver, was dug out from 
stores everywhere provided by Divine Providence." He 


also says: "That which is now called the Christian reli- 
gion existed among the ancients ; nor was it wanting from 
the beginning of the human race till Christ came in the 
flesh ; from which time the true religion, which had always 
existed, began to be called Christian." 

Jewish converts of course retained the fixed idea of their 
nation, that God never inspired any but his chosen people 
of Israel. They adopted the opinion of Aristobulus, Philo, 
and Josephus, that any fragments of truth found in the 
writings of Plato and other philosophers must have been 
borrowed from Hebrew sources, while all that was false in 
their teaching came from the Evil Spirits whom they wor- 
shipped as Gods. They succeeded in firmly fixing this 
idea in the minds of the Christian Fathers. Some said 
Plato had conversed with the prophet Jeremiah in Egypt. 
Others said he went to Egypt for the express purpose of 
studying the Hebrew Law and the Prophets ; and that he 
became acquainted with them through the medium of the 
Greek translation called the Septuagint. They did not 
explain how it happened, that Plato, having taken all that 
trouble, never made the slightest allusion to the Hebrews 
or their books, though he continually referred to the learn- 
ing of the Egyptians. The total dissimilarity between his 
writings and those attributed to Moses was explained by 
the assertion that all of truth in Plato could be found in 
Moses by allegorical interpretation. Augustine for a time 
maintained this Jewish theory concerning Plato, but he 
subsequently retracted it; being convinced that Plato was 
born near a hundred years after Jeremiah was in Egypt, 
and that the Hebrew Scriptures were not translated into 
Greek till sixty years after Plato's death. Lactantius and 
Jerome likewise acknowledged that chronology would not 
sustain such a theory. Then a conjecture arose that the 
Grecian philosopher, during his stay in Egypt, must have 
conversed with some learned interpreter of Moses. This 
opinion, which satisfied Jewish exclusiveness, generally 
prevailed among Christians. That Hebrew patriarchs and 
prophets were directly inspired by the Logos — that is, by 


Christ himself— was universally maintained; but the old 
idea that the best philosophers might have been thus in- 
spired, though in a lesser degree, was rejected by all the 
later Fathers. The Learned among them acknowledged 
that the doctrine of One God was very anciently taught in 
Egypt. Lactantius says: "Thoth, or Eermes, a most an- 
cienl philosopher, instructed in all kinds of learning, and 
there lure called Trismegistus, [thrice greatest,] wrote many 
books concerning the knowledge of divine things ; wherein 
he asserts the majesty of One Supreme God, calling Him, 
as we do, God and Father. Lest any one should inquire 
his name, he said that he was without any name ; that is, 
ineffable and incomprehensible." 

To rightly estimate the opposition to Christianity mani- 
fested by many good and sincere men among the Pagans, 
it is necessary not only to make allowance for the strong 
attachment men naturally feel for the ancient faith of their 
nation, but it is also just to remember that Christianity did 
not then present itself to reflecting minds with the same 
aspect it now does in the most enlightened parts of Chris- 
tendom. The alleged efficacy of mere external rites natu- 
rally excited distrust, when so many manifested a lax 
morality, and selfish policy, after being baptized. Spurious 
Gospels, abounding with marvellous and childish tales, 
were then in general circulation; and prophecies by Sibyls, 
which learned Pagans knew to be forged, were constantly 
appealed to in confirmation of Christianity. Allegorical 
interpretations of Homer seemed to the Fathers like foolish 
conceits; but the symbolical interpretations which they 
gave to the Scriptures, Old and New, seemed quite as 
forced and unmeaning to Grecian and Koman minds. They 
had been accustomed to regard Jews in very much the 
same light that we regard Hindoos; as a people of small 
intellectual culture, and strongly wedded to strange, unso- 
cial customs. Not being educated to consider Moses in- 
spired, they did not look at his laws through the glorifying 
medium of reverence, but judged them with the same free- 
dom that we judge the laws of Menu, Minos, or Numa. 


The bold and sublime, but rough style of the Hebrew 
Prophets was offensive to ears accustomed to flowery rhe- 
toric, and the harmonious versification of Grecian and 
Eoman poets. Moreover the allusions and metaphors were 
so Jewish, that much of their significance was lost upon 
other nations. Therefore, notwithstanding the strong in- 
ducements to accept a religion on which successive emperors 
lavished funds and honours, there still remained a conside- 
rable class of educated minds strongly, though silently 
attached to old religious ideas, clothed in the robes of re- 
fined philosophy. And though the indigent and the help- 
less were sure of shelter and nourishment in the arms of 
the mother church, there were still many peasants, who 
believed that their flocks would not multiply, if they ceased 
to offer oblations to Pan, and that their harvests would be 
unblest, without an altar to Ceres in the fields. 

As the new religion grew more powerful, it became less 
merciful toward the old. It was the general belief that all 
Pagans, who lived before the world had heard of Christ, 
could not possibly be happy in another world ; not even 
the wise and virtuous Socrates, and the excellent Phocion. 
And no Christian entertained a doubt that every Pagan 
must be eternally damned, whatever might be his degree 
of moral worth, if he worshipped the ancient gods, after 
the religion of Christ had been offered to him. At the 
beginning of the fifth century, when the persecuting Cyril 
was Archbishop of Alexandria, a learned and beautiful 
woman, named Hypatia, was head of the school of New 
Platonists in that city. She gave lectures on philosophy, 
and her uncommon eloquence and graceful manners at- 
tracted very large audiences. She is said to have been free 
from pedantry, strictly virtuous in character, and eminently 
modest in her manners. She was under the protection of 
her father, who was also a philosopher, and their house 
became the resort of all the learned and distinguished. 
Orestes, Governor of Alexandria, was frequently their 
guest, and she was supposed to have great influence over 
him. A jealousy arose that this influence was exerted 


un favourably to Cyril. BJe and his monks began to utter 
calumnies concerning her friendship with Orestes; though 
it does not appear thai Bhe was guilty of any other offence 
than that of exerting extraordinary talent and learning to 
render the old religion attractive in its mystic veil of 
Platonism. The monks of the neighbouring deserts, who 
prided themselves on contempt for human learning, were 
much displeased by the applause her eloquence excited ; 
and their enmity increased to hatred. As Hypatia was 
returning home from one of her lectures, she was seized by 
a mob of these violent devotees, who dragged her through 
the streets into one of the churches, murdered her, stripped 
off all her clothing, tore her limb from limb, and burned 
the mangled remains to ashes. Theodosius the Younger, 
who was then emperor, either did not dare to punish this 
terrible outrage, or he had no will to do it. 

The decrees of the church and the laws of the state 
manifested the same hostility toward the vanquished reli- 
gion. Whoever allowed his daughter to marry a Pagan 
priest was expelled from the Christian church, and not 
permitted to receive the sacrament even in the hour of 
death. When Justinian became emperor, in the year five 
hundred and twenty-seven, he appointed a bishop to hunt 
out all who were suspected of secret attachment to the old 
worship. Their silence was not sufficient. They were 
ordered to make ready for baptism or death. Seventy 
thousand were discovered ; mostly in the Asiatic provinces. 
They were immediately converted into as good Christians, 
as outward ordinances could make them. Photius, a man 
of patrician rank, stabbed himself rather than submit to the 
enforced ceremony. The emperor caused his corpse to be 
ignominiously exposed. 


It is not recorded that any dispute ever arose between 
the Apostles and their countrymen whether Christ was the 
Logos ; or concerning the question of his divinity, in any 
form. The only complaints which Jews brought against 


the disciples of Jesus were, that they ate forbidden articles 
of food with foreigners ; that they profaned the temple by 
bringing Greeks into it ; and that they admitted the uncir- 
cumcised to associate with them, even in their worship. 
The Psalmist says : " By the word of the Lord were the 
heavens made ;" and similar expressions abound in the 
Old Testament. But Jews never entertained the idea that 
this Messiah was to be an impersonation of the Word ; 
and the idea that God could have a son was very shocking 
to their established mode of thought. Eusebius says : " If 
any Jew be asked whether God has a Logos, he will say, 
1 Certainly.' Every Jew will say that He has one or more 
of them. But if asked whether God has a Son, he will 
deny it." Elsewhere he says: "If anyone suppose that 
the Son is a mere word; quiescent in the Father when He 
is quiescent, but active when He made the world ; resem- 
bling the word of man, which is quiescent when we are 
silent, but active when we speak, it is evident that he in- 
terprets according to human reason, as the Jews do, and 
that he denies the true Son of God." The Rabbi Jonathan 
says : " The Messiah and Moses will appear at the end of 
the world, one in the desert, the other at Rome ; and the 
Logos will march between them." 

As soon as the doctrine of the Messiah's divinity was 
made known to the Jews, they controverted it most 
strenuously, as an idea totally at variance with their strict 
belief in the unity of God. Basnage, in his History of the 
Jews, says : " Christians and Jews separated at the second 
step in religion. Having adored together one God, abso- 
lutely perfect, immediately afterward, they find the abyss 
of the Trinity, which separates them entirely. The Jew 
considers three persons as three Gods; and this shocks 
him." This obstruction in the path was probably the 
principal reason why so much fewer Jews than Pagans 
were converted. The following remarks, by Herbanus, a 
learned Jew, in the fifth century, in controversy with a 
Christian bishop, express the substance of what they al- 
ways said on the subject: " The prophet Moses pronounces 


a dreadful curse upon the children of Israel, if we should 
ever receive any other G-od beside the God of our fathers. 
God himself strictly orders as, by the prophets, saying: 
'There shall be do other Q-od in thee, nor shalt thou wor- 
ship a strange God.' Why, then, should you make any 
words on the subject?" "It is grievous to me to desert 
the God of the Law, whom you also acknowledge to be the 
true God, and to worship a younger god, not knowing 
whence he sprung." " Whence do you derive your faith 
in the Father, Son, and Spirit, and introduce three strange 
gods?" " Where did any prophet foretell that the Messiah 
was to be a God-man, as you say ?" " Why did not God 
order Moses and the prophets to believe in the Father, 
Son, and Holy Spirit, but yourselves only, who have lately 
discovered it, as you pretend ?" Another of their writers 
says : " Moses commands to worship only one God. He 
makes no second like him, or unlike him, as you have 
done. If you can produce a single expression in Moses to 
this purpose, do it. That saying of his, ' A prophet shall 
the Lord your God raise up unto you, of your brethren, like 
unto me, hear him,' is not said of the son of Mary. But 
even if this be granted to you, Moses says the prophet 
shall be like himself, not like God ; a man, not a deity." 
What Isaiah prophesied concerning Emanuel, which means 
God with us, they interpreted by their own ancient custom 
of giving significant names to children. Eusebius says: 
" The Jews teach, I know not how, that all those things 
were said of a common child." Those who adopted the 
Cabalistic idea that Adam Kadman created the world, that 
he appeared as the earthly Adam, and would again appear 
as the Messiah, seem to have been a small minority, 
both among Jews and the Christianized Jews called 

To meet the objections started by their opponents, the 
Christian Fathers said God spoke to his Logos, when he 
said : " Let us make man after our own image." But Jews 
replied that God then addressed his conclave of ministering 
angels. In answer to their demand for proofs from the 


Old Testament, the Fathers said that the Godhead of the 
Messiah was predicted, but purposely veiled. Eusebius 
says : " The prophets, who foretold concerning Christ, con- 
cealed their treasure in obscure words." Epiphanius says : 
" Adam, being a prophet, knew the Father, Son, and Spirit, 
and knew that the Father spake to the Son, when he said, 
'Let us make man.'" Chrysostom says: "When Moses 
said the world was made by God, not by Christ, he accom- 
modated himself to the stupidity of his hearers; and justly, 
because it would not have been proper to give those meat, 
who had need to be fed with milk." It was generally 
maintained that the doctrine of the Trinity was hidden 
from the Jews, on account of the danger of their relapsing 
into their old tendencies to worship other gods than Jeho- 
vah. The Fathers said it was for this reason that Christ 
and his Apostles purposely concealed it. Eusebius says : 
" The multitude of the Jews were kept in ignorance of 
this hidden mystery, when they were taught to believe in 
one God only, on account of their being frequently drawn 
into idolatry. They did not know that God was the 
Father of the only begotten Son. This mystery was re- 
served for the Gentile church, out of special favour to them." 
The virginity of Mary was likewise opposed to Jewish 
habits of thought and feeling. Their theories concerning 
the creation of man did not recognize an eternal principle 
of Matter, the origin of evil. Consequently, they did not 
hold the human body in contempt. The mother of the 
largest family was the woman most honoured among them ; 
and there are indications that the idea of giving birth to 
the long-expected Messiah was a cherished hope among 
Hebrew women. Learned Eabbis denied that Isaiah pre- 
dicted the Messiah would be born of a virgin. They said 
the Hebrew word thus translated in the Septuagint simply 
signified a young woman. They ridiculed what some of 
the Christian Fathers said concerning the miraculous birth 
of Christ, differing from all other births. They asked: 
" If this were so, why was Mary represented as going to 
the temple to make offerings for purification ?" 

Vol. III.— 23 m 


If the warfare had been confined to words, it would 
have been better and more creditable to both parties. But 
unfortunately many causes were al work to increase the 
hostility always felt by a long-established church toward a 
non-conforming scot. After the introduction of Chris- 
tianity, Jews began to attract more attention from other 
nations than they had previously done. This was partly 
owing to the fact that they had grown with the growth of 
the world. They formed a large, wealthy, and enterpris- 
ing class in all the principal cities of the Roman empire, 
and there were many men among them who commanded 
respect by their learning and their virtues. In the early 
times, Jews had little zeal for making converts. But in- 
tercourse with foreigners, and the rapid spread of Chris- 
tianity, roused in them a spirit of proselytism ; and at a 
time when the Pagan religion was undermined by general 
scepticism, some devout minds were solemnly impressed 
with sublime passages from the Hebrew Scriptures, and 
with the worship of one God, of whom no image was al- 
lowed to be made. In large cities considerable numbers 
of the populace were converted by Jewish magicians, called 
Gceta3, whose wonderful skill they believed to be miracu- 
lous. The later Jewish writers were accustomed to trace 
the miracles of Christ to magic. They said he had power 
over Evil Spirits, because he had learned the secret and 
ineffable name of God, expressed only by a mysterious 
sign, and had dared to utter it. 

After our era, Jews were brought into notice in one way 
peculiarly annoying to themselves. They were constantly 
identified with the seceders, whom they so much abhorred ; 
for when Christianity began to be a troublesome element 
in Roman affairs, magistrates regarded the sect as merely 
a peculiarly refractory portion of the Jews. This in- 
duced a habit of mutually vilifying each other, to repel 
the charges brought by Romans. The breach widened 
continually, and when Christianity became the paramount 
influence of the state, Jews were deprived of the protection 
and toleration they had enjoyed under emperors of the old 


religion. Constantine, in his edict concerning the observ- 
ance of Easter, declares that it was unsuited to the dignity 
of the church to follow "that most hateful of all people, 
the Jews," in their celebration of the Passover. He enacted 
that if the Jews should stone a Christian convert, or other- 
wise endanger his life, all concerned in it should be burned 
alive. He prohibited all Christians from becoming Jews, 
under pain of arbitrary punishment. He forbade Jews to 
hold Christian slaves; assigning as a reason that those 
who had been made free by the blood of Christ ought not 
to be slaves to the murderers of the prophets, and of the 
Son of God. They were constrained to take upon them- 
selves certain public offices, which were burdensome and 
avoided by others. Some degree of justice was, however, 
observed. The right of Eoman citizenship was not taken 
from them, they chose their own officers to regulate their 
markets, and their Patriarchs and Babbins were exempted 
from military duty and civil offices, the same as the Chris- 
tian Archbishops and their clergy. 

In Spain it was customary for landholders and peasants 
to keep a joyous festival in the spring time, and at the 
gathering of the harvest. Many of them were Jews ; and 
according to the devout custom of their nation, before they 
partook of the banquet, they prayed to God that even in 
the land of the stranger he would send sunshine and dews 
to produce abundant crops. A Council held at Illiberis 
forbade Jews to assemble with Christians on such occa- 
sions, lest the blessings pronounced by them should render 
unavailing the powerful benedictions of the church. 

Constantius passed laws still more severe than those of 
his father. The Jews were very heavily taxed and bur- 
thened in every way. They were forbidden, under pain 
of death, to hold Christian slaves, or marry Christian wo- 
men. The old edict of Adrian, forbidding them to approach 
Jerusalem, was renewed. A painful pilgrimage it must 
have been, had it been allowed ; for their Holy Mountain 
lay desolate, while the glittering cross, surmounting the 
splendid church on Mount Calvary, might be seen from 


afar. Under the short administration of Julian all these 
oppressive enactments were abolished, and he proposed to 
rebuild their temple, as has been already stated ; but Jovian 
restored the old state of things. 

These persecutions of course excited bitter animosity in 
the objects of them. When disturbances occurred, the Jewish 
population, especially in reckless Alexandria, rushed to the 
aid of Pagans, or Arians, and often committed frightful 
excesses. Christians availed themselves of every pretext 
to insult, harrass, and plunder the Jews ; and Jews lost no 
opportunity to retaliate. 

After the time of Jovian, several of the emperors were 
inclined to restrain the animosity of the bishops toward 
the Jews, who were everywhere a numerous and useful 
class of citizens. Maximus commanded the Christians to 
rebuild at their own expense a synagogue which they had 
wantonly destroyed at Rome. Theodosius the Great gave 
the same orders concerning a synagogue demolished at 
* Callinicum. The outrage occurred at a great distance from 
the jurisdiction of Ambrose, but he felt called upon to 
remonstrate with the emperor concerning the intended 
restitution. He expressed disapprobation of such acts as 
setting fire to synagogues, but asserted that no bishop could 
conscientiously contribute anything toward building a place 
of worship for Jews. He also said, somewhat inconsist- 
ently : " I myself would willingly assume the guilt, and say, 
I have set this synagogue in flames; at least in so far that 
I have urged on all ; that there might be no place left in 
which Christ is denied." From the pulpit, he preached in 
the same strain he had written. The emperor, who was at 
Milan, yielded his sense of justice to the zeal of the bishop, 
and the Jews were left without a synagogue. But he re- 
cognized the right of their Patriarchs to judge and punish 
members of their own community, according to their own 
laws, and Roman magistrates were forbidden to interfere 
in such cases. When near the close of his life, and away 
from the influence of Ambrose, he issued an edict of tole- 
ration to the Jews, and ordered that all who pillaged or 


destroyed their synagogues should be punished according 
to the discretion of the magistrate. 

Where two classes of people were so hostile to each 
other, occasions were never wanting for a quarrel. Brawls 
in the streets were continually occurring between Jews and 
Christians, upon the slightest provocation ; and Jews, being 
the party out of power, were not very likely to obtain a 
candid hearing. At a place not far from Antioch, some 
Jews in a state of intoxication manifested their rancorous 
animosity in a manner they would not have ventured to 
do while sober. They mocked at Christ in the public 
streets, and erected a cross, on which they fastened a 
Christian boy, whom they scourged till he died. They 
were rigorously punished; but the transaction deepened 
popular hatred of the Israelites. Some years afterward, a 
mob of Christians plundered a synagogue at Antioch. The 
Roman Governor represented the case to the emperor, 
Theodosius the Younger, who commanded the clergy to 
make restitution ; but they appealed to Simeon Stylites, 
who remonstrated with the emperor. Theodosius could 
not resist the intercession of such a celebrated saint. He 
granted his request, and wrote him a letter soliciting his 
prayers, addressed to the " Holy Martyr in the Air." The 
magistrate, who had exerted himself to preserve justice 
from being warped by intolerance, was removed from office. 

In the excitable city of Alexandria, where Jews were 
always numerous, commotions were more frequent than 
elsewhere. At the theatre, a quarrel arose between some 
of the Hebrew population and one of the partisans of Cj^ril 
the archbishop. Cyril threatened to make all the Jews 
responsible, if such scenes were not prevented. This threat 
excited the Hebrew populace, who well knew that he al- 
ways availed himself of every pretext for persecution. 
They raised a false alarm that the church was on fire in 
the night, and when the Christians rushed out, they fell 
upon them and killed many. The next morning, the arch- 
bishop, without Waiting for any examination into the affair, 
or any warrant from the civil authorities, led on an army 
Vol. III.— 23* 


of monks to attack the Jewish citizens, who were unarmed, 
and not aware of danger. Synagogues were demolished, 
houses pillaged, many .lews slaughtered, and all the rest 
driven out of the city. There were forty thousand dews in 
Alexandria, and a large proportion of them were wealthy. 
Orestes, the Governor, as a matter of policy, wished that 
such a large and valuable class of citizens should feel se- 
curity in the possession of their property. lie accord- 
ingly represented to the emperor that compensation ought 
to he made for the extensive robberies committed, and the 
buildings destroyed. Five hundred monks attacked him, 
as he was riding through the street. In vain he protested 
that he was a Catholic Christian. One of the great stones 
they hurled at him, made the blood gush from his head, 
and. nearly cost him his life. He was generally popular, 
and the citizens rose in his defence. The monks were 
driven back to their deserts, and the man who had thrown 
the stone was put to death. But Cyril caused his body to 
be taken up, and accorded to him all the honours of a 
martjrr, who had fallen in defence of the church. 

Justinian, who was a great persecutor of Jews and here- 
tics, passed laws more severe than any of his predecessors. 
He forbade the reading of the Talmud, and compelled 
Jews to keep their Passover on the same day that Chris- 
tians observed Easter. 

A similar state of feeling existed between Christians and 
Samaritans. On Easter Sunda}^ the Samaritans, for some 
unexplained reason, broke into the church in their city of 
Sichem, killed a great many people, and cut off several 
fingers from the hands of the bishop, who held fast to the 
consecrated bread, he was just about to administer in the 
sacrament. It was wrenched from him, and treated with 
the utmost fury and contempt. The bishop fled, and sought 
redress from the emperor Zeno, showing his mangled hands, 
and quoting the prophecy of Jesus to the woman of Sama- 
ria: "The time shall come when ye shall worship God, 
neither on this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem." The 
Samaritans had built no temple on Mount Gerizim ; but 


the ancient veneration for the holy place continued, and 
on its summit they offered their devotions. At the request 
of the bishop, the emperor not only severely punished the 
Samaritans for the outrages they had committed, but or- 
dered them to be expelled from Mount Gerizim, and caused 
a chapel to the Virgin Mary to be erected on its summit. 
It was necessary to build a strong wall round it, and place 
an armed guard to watch it. A small party of Samaritans 
clambered up the precipitous side of the mountain and 
slew the guard. 

Justinian passed very severe laws against the Samaritans. 
They were deprived of all dignities, and not allowed to 
hold any office whatsoever, civil or military ; " lest they 
might have opportunity of judging and punishing Chris- 
tians ; even bishops." These stringent measures produced 
furious insurrections, in which many Christians were killed, 
and their churches destroyed. The Samaritans were final- 
ly expelled from Sichem, their capital city, and forbidden 
to enter it again. In litigation, where one or both parties 
were Christians, the testimony of a Jew or a Samaritan was 
inadmissible. Those who adhered to their religion were 
not allowed to inherit property. To provide for cases 
where the wife became a convert to Christianity, while the 
husband remained a Jew, or a Samaritan, it was enacted 
that the true religion should rule. The unbelieving father 
was bound to maintain his children, but the believing mo- 
ther was invested with authority to regulate their education 
and marriages. These laws had the intended effect of 
causing many of the Samaritans to submit to baptism. 

When there was great competition among conflicting 
sects to increase their number of proselytes, when converts 
were rewarded with worldly advantages, and driven by 
legal disabilities, frequent deceptions were the inevitable 
result. Those among the Jews, who had no sincere rever- 
ence for any religion, made a traffic of being baptized in 
several places, managing to receive banquets and presents 
for their trouble. This was carried to such an extent, that 
it became necessary to pass laws that no Jew should be 


baptized without previous inquiry into his character, and 
serving a period of probation. An instance is recorded of 
the detection of one of these hypocrites by miracle. When 
he would have entered the pool, the water recoiled from 
him, as if conscious that he had often made traffic of the 

The Jewish population always sided with the Arians in 
times of disturbance, and when Arians were in power, 
they always protected the Jews. This probably arose 
from mutual sympathy, growing out of the fact that both 
were persecuted by the dominant church. How much evil 
might have been averted, if Christians had obeyed the 
gentle precepts of their founder, is proved by the fact that 
both Jews and Pagans were prompt to manifest gratitude 
toward those who treated them with justice and modera- 
tion. The published letters of Sidonius Apollinaris, Bishop 
of Clermont, contain several epistles from eminent Jews, 
full of friendly feeling. Basil the Great aimed at impartial 
justice in the administration of his episcopal office, and in 
debate with theological opponents, he was always cour- 
teous. Hilary, Bishop of Poictiers, also manifested a candid 
and kindly disposition. At the funeral of both these pre- 
lates there was a great concourse of Pagans and Jews, and 
Israelites mingled their voices with Christians in Psalms 
of lamentation. 


The spirit manifested toward Christians, who departed 
in any respect from the Catholic standard, was hardly less 
bitter than that exhibited toward Pagans and Jews. Va- 
rious disputes, which germinated in the ISTestorian contro- 
versy, long continued to divide and subdivide the church. 
The Asiatic and Egyptian clergy were generally followers 
of Eutyches, called Monophysites ; while the Western 
clergy were strenuous advocates for the decree of the 
Council at Chalcedon, which condemned Eutyches. In 
four hundred eighty-two, five hundred assembled bishops 
decided that the decrees of the Synod of Chalcedon might 


be supported by bloodshed, if necessary. There were a 
multitude of monks in Jerusalem, who espoused the Mono- 
physite cause, and pillaged and murdered their opponents. 
The sepulchre of Christ was stained with blood shed by 
furious combatants ; one side maintaining that he had two 
natures completely united in one nature, the other that he 
had two natures completely united in one 'person. The 
Bishop of Alexandria was constantly guarded by two 
thousand soldiers; and for two years he contended with 
the people of that city, who were violently opposed to the 
decree at Chalcedon. At last, they besieged him in his 
cathedral, murdered him, burnt his corpse, and scattered 
the ashes to the winds, to prevent his relics from being 
honoured. Many thousands were slain in consequence of 
this theological splitting of a hair. Such a state of excite- 
ment existed, that the smallest spark was sufficient to 
kindle a devouring flame. The Apocalypse of John re- 
presents angels and cherubim continually singing before 
the throne of God, u Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Al- 
mighty !" As this was supposed to express the Trinity, 
it became customary, in the fifth century, to sing this in 
the churches, under the name of the Trisagion, Thrice 
Holy. A Monophysite bishop, in his zeal to represent the 
one nature of Christ as God, added the words, " who was 
crucified for us." This practice was copied at Constan- 
tinople and some other places. The opposite party re- 
garded it as a blasphemous and dangerous heresy to 
represent God as crucified. The emperor Anastasius took 
one side, and the Patriarch of Constantinople took the 
other. Two adverse choirs in the cathedral sang the Tri- 
sagion ; one without the additional phrase, the other with 
it. They strove to drown each other's voices, and when 
their lungs were fatigued, they attacked each other with 
clubs and stones. A mob of men, women, and children, 
led on by an army of monks, went about the streets, shout- 
ing and fighting. The statues of the emperor were broken, 
he hid himself to save his life, and was finally compelled 
to abdicate. Sixty-five thousand Christians were slaugh- 


tered before the insurrection was quelled. This was the 
first war between Christians on account of theological 

In the first half of the sixth century, a complete separa- 
tion took place between the Catholic Church and the 
Monophysites. They formed independent churches in 
Egypt, Syria, and Mesopotamia, and appointed their own 
patriarchs. They soon divided into sects. Controversies 
arose among them whether the body of Christ was created 
or uncreated ; whether it was corruptible or incorruptible. 
Some of them arrived at the conclusion that the three per- 
sons of the Trinity were three gods. This sect, called 
Tritheists, were rejected as heretics by the Monophysites, 
as well as by their opponents. 

In connection with the discussion concerning two natures, 
arose the query whether Christ had two wills. Believers 
in one will were called Monothelites, from Greek words 
having that meaning. Many of the Eastern clergy favoured 
that view, but considered controversy on the subject un- 
necessary and injudicious. The clergy at Rome were dis- 
pleased with this advice, and pronounced the doctrine of 
the Monothelites heretical. Bishops were summoned to 
assemble in that city. They signed a sentence of condem- 
nation on St. Peter's tomb, and rendered it more emphatic 
by mingling sacramental wine with the ink. After pro- 
longed controversy, it was finally settled that two wills, 
divine and human, were perfectly harmonized in Christ. 

The controversy with Macedonius likewise left a wake 
behind it. The equality of the Holy Spirit with the two 
other persons of the Trinity was settled by decree of coun- 
cil ; but new discussions arose concerning what was called 
" the procession of the Holy Ghost." Scripture declared 
that the Spirit was sent by Christ ; which led some to in- 
fer that he proceeded from the Son, as well as from the 
Father. Others rejected this as involving the idea of 
double parentage, and maintained that he proceeded from 
the Father only. In five hundred eighty-six, the Council 
of Toledo added three words to the creed established by 


the Council of Constantinople, and made it declare "the 
Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father, and the So?i." This 
gave great offence to the churches in the East. Eome de- 
cided that "the Holy Spirit is eternally from the Father 
and the Son ; and he proceeds from them both eternally, 
as from a single principle, and by one single procession." 
The churches in Constantinople persevered in maintaining 
a different opinion on this subtle question, and the contest 
ended in complete separation from the Catholic church. 


It was in this state of things, that Gregory the First, 
commonly called the Great, became Patriarch of Rome in 
the year five hundred ninety. His father was a Roman 
senator, and his mother was a woman of uncommon en- 
dowments. She was a devout Christian, and watched 
most carefully over his youthful education. Her pious 
tendencies are indicated by the fact that while he was yet 
a babe, she dreamed the holy hermit Anthony appeared to 
her, and foretold that her son would be a bishop. 

Gregory commenced his career as a lawyer with distin- 
guished success. He became a member of the senate, and 
was emplo} r ed in various other services of honour and 
trust. He was Prefect, or Governor of Rome, and resigned 
the office after having fulfilled its duties with great ability 
and integrity, for twelve years. Satiated with worldly suc- 
cess, his spirit craved something more satisfactory and 
abiding; and he longed for religious seclusion. On the 
death of his father, he inherited a large fortune, which he 
immediately devoted to pious and charitable purposes. 
His paternal mansion, on the Celian Hill, was converted 
into a monastery, and hospital for the poor, dedicated to 
the Apostle Andrew. A small cell was reserved for him- 
self, and thither he retired from the world, taking upon 
himself the usual vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. 
His time was divided between prayer, devotional studies, 
and attention to the poor. When a terrible pestilence 


raged at Rome, lie devoted himself most assiduously to the 
care of the needy and the Buffering. The Pope, Pelagius 
Second, employed him as hifl secretary ; and when he died, 
the popular voice immediately named Gregory as his suc- 
cessor, lie wrote to the emperor, intreating him not to 
ratify the choice of the people ; it being his earnest wish 
to devote himself to the quietude of religious seclusion. 
Finding that his election was confirmed, he fled from the 
city, and hid himself in a cave. Tradition says those who 
were sent to search for him were guided to the place of his 
concealment by a celestial light. He was brought back 
and solemnly installed in the high dignity of the Roman 
Pontiff, with far more power and splendour than had ever 
belonged to the old Pagan office of Pontifex Maximus. 

Gregory was the first Pope who assumed the title " Ser- 
vant of the servants of God." He discharged the duties 
of his elevated station with an unusual degree of humanity 
and wisdom, if we judge him by the standard of that age. 
When the Jews in Sardinia appealed to him, in conse- 
quence of some outrages they had suffered, he commanded 
that the synagogues, which had been taken from them and 
converted into churches, should be immediately restored. 
He forbade any interference with the worship of the Jews, 
and severely rebuked those whose zeal led them to place 
in the synagogues images of the Virgin Mary and of the 
crucified Christ. At the same time, he sought to proselyte 
them by a process more kindly and considerate, though it 
appealed to selfish motives ; he offered remission of taxes 
to all converted Jews. He exerted himself to the utmost 
to prevent the "cruel and impious" traffic in Christian 
slaves, and to redeem from bondage to Jews or Pagans all 
who were Christians, or who professed a wish to become 
Christians. He advised bishops to sell the church plate, 
if necessary, for this purpose, as a service well-pleasing in 
the sight of God. Before he was Pope, his compassion had 
been greatly excited by some young English captives of- 
fered for sale in Rome. He formed the design of going as 
a missionary to England, and had in fact started on his 


journey ; but his services were so much needed at home, 
and he was so much beloved by the people, that they in- 
duced the Patriarch of Rome to send after him, and forbid 
his departure. He returned accordingly ; but the sight of 
those beautiful youths, so desolate and sad in the markets 
of a foreign land, made an impression on his soul which 
he never forgot. It was one of the earliest acts of his ad- 
ministration to send missionaries to England. His zeal for 
the general dissemination of Christianity was very great. 
He not only sent missionaries to neighbouring nations, but 
to Huns, Bactrians, Persians, Medes, East Indians, and 
Chinese. He displayed similar zeal for the conversion of 
Jews and heretics, and for the advancement of monasticism. 
He rigidly enforced the celibacy of the clergy ; a regula- 
tion which still continued to meet with a good deal of op- 
position. Its tendency was to guard the wealth of the 
church ; for married bishops and priests would have been 
likely to use the ecclesiastical revenues for the benefit of 
their own families; and the effect would have been, in 
those times, to establish an hereditary priesthood. Gre- 
gory not only protected the wealth of the church, but 
greatly increased it. The distinctness and prominence 
which he gave to the doctrine concerning Purgatory, 
proved a valuable source of revenue. The idea that the 
soul, after death, went to some place where it was purified 
by fire, was a feature common to the oriental religions, and 
the Gnostic systems, and was also introduced into Platon- 
ism. Origen, and Clement of Alexandria, thought it was 
proved by the Christian Scriptures. Most of the Fathers 
go construed the third chapter of Paul's first Epistle to the 
Corinthians. That prayers, oblations, and penances of the 
living could affect the condition of the dead, was another 
idea which pervaded the oriental religions; particularly 
the Braminical and the Buddhist. The early Christian 
Fathers also inculcated it as a duty to offer prayers and 
oblations for the deceased ; on the ground that such cere- 
monies were a benefit to their souls. This conviction was 
strengthened by the feeling that though original sin was 
Vol. III.— 34 


washed away by baptism, penance was required for sins 
committed niter baptism. Gregory the Great defined these 
doctrines with more precision; and from that time hence- 
forth they were invested with accessories both terrifying 
and attractive to the imagination. Purgatory was repre- 
sented as a region on the borders of hell, where souls not 
good enough to enter heaven were detained, for a longer 
or shorter time, to be purified by suffering. One spark of 
its fire was said to cause more agony than any bodily pain 
that could be endured, or conceived of, in this world. 
] 'ravers offered for the dead, and donations given to 
churches and monasteries in their behalf, would lessen the 
intensity and shorten the term of this probationary suffer- 
ing. Priests were paid for reciting these prayers ; and as 
tenderness for the departed, whether founded in affection, 
remorse, or pride of family, is one of the strongest feelings 
in the human heart, masses repeated for the dead became 
a source of great emolument. Gregory's administration 
was marked by increasing splendour in the decoration 
of churches, the richness of ecclesiastical costume, and 
the pomp of ceremonies and festivals. He revised the 
ritual of worship, and arranged the liturgy as it has ever 
since been preserved. lie introduced chants sung by male 
voices in unison, and himself trained choristers to perform 
them. The voices of the whole congregation had hereto- 
fore joined in the music of the church, but it was thence- 
forth intrusted to trained bands of singers. These Gregorian 
chants, supposed to have been formed on the model of the 
old Greek chorus, with more complex modulation, remained 
for centuries the orthodox standard for all church music, 
from which it was considered a sort of heresy to deviate. 
The pomp and ceremony thus introduced, and the ecclesi- 
astical authority established over the minutest forms, had 
a great effect to dazzle and overawe the ignorant; espe- 
cially barbarian converts, to whom the Pope did indeed 
appear like God's vicegerent upon earth, and his attendant 
bishops, priests, deacons, and choristers, like so many 
ministering angels. This increase of Koman greatness 


was by no means pleasing to many of the Eastern churches. 
In fact, the splendid pontificate of Gregory was a constant 
struggle for power with his competitor, John, Patriarch of 

But if his ambition was great, his benevolence was per- 
haps even greater. He was truly a kind shepherd to the 
poor of his flock. When told that a beggar had died of 
hunger in the streets of Rome, he seemed to consider him- 
self personally responsible. He imposed penance on him- 
self, and for several days refrained from the administration 
of his priestly office, as one unworthy to appear before the 
Lord. It is related of him that when he was only a monk, 
a beggar presented himself at the gate of the monastery. 
Being relieved, he came again and again. At last, Gregory 
had nothing to give him but a silver porringer, in which 
his mother had sent some nourishment to sustain him 
during his penances. He gave that also to the beggar. 
After he became Pope, it was his daily custom to invite 
twelve poor men to sup with him. One night, he observed 
that thirteen were at the table. When the steward was 
asked the reason of this, he replied that there were but 
twelve. Gregory inquired no further ; but after supper, 
he privately asked the unbidden guest who he was. He 
answered: "I am the beggar, whom thou didst formerly 
relieve so often at the monastery. I am now called The 
Wonderful ; and whatsoever thou shalt ask of God, through 
me, thou shalt obtain." Then the charitable Pope knew 
that he had entertained Christ. 

Innumerable miracles are recorded of him. His Secre- 
tary declared that while he was writing, he had often 
seen the Holy Ghost perched on his shoulder in the 
form of a dove. Once, when a man was present in the 
church, who doubted that the bread and wine were really 
changed into the body and blood of Christ, Gregory prayed 
that he might be convinced ; whereupon, Jesus himself 
descended upon the altar, with his cross and crown of 

Gregory died at sixty -four years of age, fourteen years 


after he was chosen Pope. Lie suffered much from physi- 
cal infirmities, said to have been induced by severe fasts 
and vigils, while he was a monk. He left numerous wri- 
tings, which have been frequently published. A book of 
Dialogues, written at the end of the sixth century, has 
been ascribed to him ; but many suppose the sanction of 
his name was assumed without authority. These Dia- 
logues describe monks in Italy as curing all manner of 
diseases ; walking on the water as freely as on dry land ; 
turning rivers out of their course ; suspending the arm of 
an executioner in mid air, so that he was unable to lower 
it to behead a Christian ; replenishing vessels of wine and 
oil miraculously ; and having pieces of gold, fresh as if 
just from the mint, dropped into their laps from heaven. 


Slaves in the Eoman empire were those who had been 
taken captive in war, or poor men sold for debt. Being 
subject to the arbitrary will of their masters, their condi- 
tion was dreadful in the extreme. Even Nero compas- 
sionated their situation so far as to forbid masters to expose 
their slaves to be torn by wild beasts. Adrian decreed 
that the master who killed a slave, except for a lawful 
cause, should be put to death. Antoninus Pius ordained 
that whoever punished a slave unreasonably should be 
compelled to part with him. The altars and statues of the 
gods, and many of the temples, were places of refuge for 
abused slaves, from which they could not be forced by 
their masters, till their complaint had been inquired into ; 
and if they had been cruelly dealt by, they could demand 
to be sold to another master. 

Constantine the Great passed a law that masters should 
not punish their slaves " except with moderation." Jus- 
tinian also passed several laws restricting the power of 
masters. But the efforts of Christian emperors, and of the 
bishops, were mainly directed against Christians being held 
in bondage by Jews or Pagans. Constantine prohibited 


Jews from holding Christian slaves, under pain of confis- 
cation of property. This law apparently fell into disuse ; 
for laws were subsequently passed forbidding Jews to at- 
tempt to convert their Christian slaves. A Council at 
Orleans in five hundred and forty, enacted that if a Chris- 
tian slave was required to perform any service incompati- 
ble with his religion, and the master proceeded to punish 
him for disobedience, he might find an asylum in any 
church ; that the clergy of that church were on no account 
to give him up, but to pay his value to the master. An- 
other council the next year enacted that if a Christian slave, 
under the same circumstances, should seek the protection 
of any Christian whatsoever, he was bound to shelter him, 
and to redeem him at a fair price. Any Jew, who prose- 
lyted a Christian slave by promises of freedom, forfeited 
all his slaves. The slave, who had agreed to such a con- 
dition, was pronounced unworthy of freedom, and the con- 
tract with him was rendered null and void. 

Jews, being more engaged in merchandize than any 
other class of people, became the principal traders in slaves, 
which were exchanged for other commodities. Gregory 
the Great was much troubled by the fact that Christians 
often came into the possession of Jews by this process. He 
ordained that no Jew or Pagan who wished to embrace 
Christianity should be held in bondage by any but a Chris- 
tian. If a slave expressed such a wish within three months 
after he was bought, the purchaser was obliged to accept 
the market price offered by any Christian. If he was kept 
longer than three months, he was free without being paid 
for ; it being evident that the Jewish slave-merchant kept 
him for his own service, not for sale. The Council of 
Macon, in five hundred eighty-one, forbade Jews to hold 
Christian slaves at all, or to sell Christian slaves to any but 
Christians. Notwithstanding the remonstrances of bishops 
and the decrees of councils, the cruel traffic continued to 
prevail extensively. Different provinces were under dif- 
ferent jurisdictions ; many of the clergy could not read the 
decisions of councils ; and those who were acquainted with 
Vol. III.— 24* 


such decrees, sometimes cared more for pecuniary profit, 
than for humanity to Christian brethren. In a Council 
held at Toledo, in six hundred fifty-five, complaint was 

made that " even the clergy, in defiance of the law, sold 
captives to Jews and Pagans." 

It has already been stated how great sympathy was ex- 
pressed in the churches for Christians carried into captivity, 
and how general was the custom of raising contributions, 
and even of selling the church-plate, for their relief. But 
the Jews of old would sell any into foreign bondage except 
those of their own faith ; and Christian humanity was 
limited by a similar theological boundary. No decrees 
were passed prohibiting either Jews or Christians from 
holding in bondage those who were not Christians, or to 
prevent Christians from owning each other. The Council 
at Chalcedon, in the middle of the fifth century, forbade 
convents to receive slaves without the consent of their mas- 
ters; and threatened excommunication for the offence. 
The reason assigned was " that the name of God may not 
be blasphemed ;" that is, that the church should not be 
accused of exciting insubordination. Basil the Great made 
it a rule that slaves, who sought refuge in the monasteries 
he founded, should be sent back with an admonition, un- 
less their masters had ordered them to do something con- 
trary to the law of God. 

After the Pagan temples and statues were destroyed, 
slaves, who had been accustomed to fly to them for safety 
in emergencies, began to take refuge in churches. During 
the reign of Theodosius Second, several slaves in Constan- 
tinople sought shelter in the sanctuary of the principal 
church, to escape from the wrath of a cruel master. There, 
for several days in succession, worship was disturbed by 
attempts to regain them. When, at last, resort was had to 
force, the slaves, in their desperation, killed one of the 
ecclesiastics, wounded another, and then put an end to 
their own lives. This and similar occurrences led to the 
enactment of a law to protect the inviolability of church 
asylums ; passed in four hundred thirty-one. It was then 


enacted that not only the altar, but whatever formed any 
part of the church buildings, should be an inviolable place 
of refuge. It was forbidden on pain of death to remove 
forcibly those who fled thither unarmed. When a slave 
sought shelter there, the clergy were ordered not to delay 
longer than a day to give information of it; but the mas- 
ter was required to grant full forgiveness, and promise to 
receive him back without inflicting any punishment. Who- 
ever violated such a promise was expelled from com- 
munion. Excommunication from all the churches was 
likewise the punishment decreed by several councils, for 
the crime of killing a slave. 

Though Christian emperors and bishops enacted no laws 
which indicate the recognition of the institution itself as a 
crime, indications abound that such a conviction pressed 
on the individual consciences of Christians. Manumissions 
at baptism were very frequent ; still more frequent at the 
approach of death. A latent consciousness of wrong is 
betrayed by the following form in common use on such 
occasions: "Almighty God having blessed us in our day 
with health of body, we ought, for the salvation of the soul, 
to turn our thoughts somewhat to the cutting off from the 
number of our sins. Therefore, in the name of God, for 
the good of my soul, and redemption from my sins, I have 
set at liberty my slave," etc. How boldly some of the 
Fathers rebuked the iniquitous system has been already 
shown by extracts from their writings. A similar spirit 
was manifested by the best of the monks. Nilus, who in 
the fifth century retired from a dignified station in Con- 
stantinople to a monastery on Mount Sinai, in his writings 
especially inculcates compassion for slaves, " whom a mas- 
tership of violence, destroying the fellowship of nature, has 
converted into tools." A monk named Eloi, called "the 
Glory of his Age," was in the habit of attending all the 
slave-sales he could hear of, buying up large numbers of 
them and setting them free. He then offered them the 
choice of entering a monastery, or of returning to the coun- 
tries whence they had been brought. The Abbot Isidore 


of Pelusium, writing to a master in behalf of a slave who* 
had begged for his intercession, says: "I did not suppose 
that a man who loves Christ, who knows tin- grace which 
has made all men free, could still hold a slave." The 
celebrated Benedict, a truly religious man, established the 
following rule for his monasteries: "The Abbot shall not 
prefer one to another, except for obedience and faithful- 
ness. He shall not rank one born free above one who was: 
a slave before his conversion ; for whether bond or free, 
we are all one in Christ Jesus. With God there is no re- 
spect of persons." The Abbot Theodore, in his will, left 
this injunction to his monastery : " Never make a slave of 
man, who is made in the image of God ; either for your 
private service, or for the monastery, or for the cultivation 
of the fields." A great many slaves became monks, and 
many were chosen bishops. It was requisite that they 
should be previously emancipated ; but in general this was 
easily accomplished ; for it was deemed a sort of impiety 
to place any obstacles in the way of a slave, who wished to 
devote himself to a religious life. Perhaps this class of 
people were found to be a useful check upon the pride of 
nobles. At all events, there was in many portions of the 
empire an increasing predilection for ordaining bishops 
who had been slaves. The Archbishop of Treves, in the 
ninth century, declares that a large proportion of the bish- 
ops were of servile extraction, and commonly took sides 
against the nobility. Some remonstrated with the bishops 
for habitually giving such candidates a preference, and felt 
obliged to quote, in favour of the free-born, the declaration 
that " God is no respecter of persons," 


The churches were not only asylums for slaves, but for 
debtors, who could thus gain time for the bishops to inter- 
fere in their behalf, or raise money for their relief. In 
times of invasion, or civil war, the conquered took refuge 
there. Ambrose protected multitudes from the sword 7 


during the frequent revolutions in the Western part of the 
empire. The noble-hearted Chrysostom, always ready to 
shelter the unfortunate, extended the powerful arm of the 
church over every victim of arbitrary violence, whether 
patrician or peasant. When Alaric the Goth captured 
Borne, the churches of Peter and Paul, and the chapels, 
were places of universal refuge. Amid the general uproar, 
not a single Gothic soldier touched those consecrated spots ; 
on the contrary, they themselves conveyed thither many 
women, children, and aged people, whose helplessness ex- 
cited their compassion. This was the more commendable, 
because the Goths were Arians, and the churches in Rome 
were Athanasian. 

The privilege of asylum was of course abused, as the 
increasing number of churches rendered sanctuaries easy of 
access for criminals of all sorts; and the clergy must have 
been more than human, if they had not made the great 
power, which this custom conferred upon them, sometimes 
subservient to purposes of ambition or avarice. The Pa- 
gans had made great complaints of justice defeated, or 
evaded, by criminals taking refuge in their temples. In 
process of time, similar complaints were made concerning 
the abuse of sanctuary in the churches ; but in the latter 
case, the evil was more extensive ; for a single city in Italy 
contained more asylums for criminals and debtors, than 
there had formerly been in the whole of Greece. 

The earliest Christians met in each other's houses for 
devotional exercises. When Gentile converts became 
numerous, they had, in some places, the use of domestic 
chapels, belonging to wealthy proselytes, who had pre- 
viously devoted them to the worship of Pagan deities. 
Sometimes they assembled in the woods, or at the burial- 
place of martyrs, whose tombs, covered with red cloth, in 
memory of their blood, served as altars on which to place 
the bread and wine of the eucharist. If there were no such 
tombs in the vicinity, moveable boxes, covered with cloth, 
were often used for the same purpose. When persecution 
raged, the faithful met together at night in caves, or in the 


large subterranean burial-places called catacombs. Under 
the emperors who tolerated Christianity, churches began 
to be built, but in very simple style. The father of 
Gregory of Nazianzen, though bishop of only a small dio- 
cese, built one at his own expense. They generally faced 
the east, as was the custom with the temples of all nations. 
Jewish converts retained their national dislike for sculpture 
and painting, always closely associated in their minds with 
the idea of idolatry ; and the early Christian Fathers im- 
bibed a similar feeling, in the course of their efforts to over- 
throw a system of worship abounding with pictures and 
statues. Epiphanius, who was a bishop in the middle of 
the fourth century, was of Jewish extraction. When he 
visited Palestine, he was surprised to find a curtain hang- 
ing over the door of the church, whereon was painted a 
likeness of Christ. He says r " When I saw the image of 
a man hanging up in the church, contrary to the authority 
of the Holy Scriptures, I immediately tore it, and ad- 
vised them to use it as a winding-sheet for some poor 
man's burial. ' r The congregation being somewhat troubled 
"by this summary proceeding, he sent them another curtain, 
but without painting. Eusebius, Bishop of Cassarea, de- 
clared strongly against images. He says he once saw in a 
woman's possession two figures, wearing the philosopher's 
robe, which she said were Christ and Paul. But he made 
her give them up ; lest it might seem that Christians, like 
idolaters, carried about an image of their God. Tertullian 
mentions pictures of Christ upon communion cups, as 
though it were the custom in his day. These cups were 
of various materials, according to the wealth of the church ; 
of wood, erystal, onyx, silver, and in some cases gold. 
The most common representations on them were the Cru- 
cified Jesus, and the Good Shepherd, carrying a lamb on 
his shoulders. On the walls of an ancient cemetery near 
Kome, is an ill-drawn figure, with short robe and sandals, 
his arms outstretched, in the act of prayer. There is a 
glory round his head, and above it the inscription, Paulus 
Apostolos, the Apostle Paul. It is supposed to be as old 


as the second or third century. The glory, or halo, with 
which it became customary to represent holy personages, 
was copied from the Pagan artists, who represented their 
deities ci'owned with rays, or the head surrounded by a 
luminous circle, to indicate that they dwelt in fulness of 
light. It is supposed that it began to be customary to 
paint the interior of churches with emblems, as early as 
the close of the third century. A cross was the most com- 
mon emblem ; sometimes a lamb with a cross ; or a lamb 
standing on a mound, whence four rivers flowed, to repre- 
sent the four Gospels ; an anchor represented faith ; the 
old Hindoo emblem of a triangle with an eye in the centre, 
was a symbol of the Trinity. At the commencement of 
the fourth century, a Council at Elvira forbade objects of 
worship to be painted on the walls. After the time of 
Constantino, the churches rapidly increased in number and 
magnificence. The columns and the pavements were of 
the most beautiful and highly polished marble. They con- 
tained shrines of martyrs set with precious stones, and 
their relics covered with rich embroidery, or cloth of gold, 
before which lamps of gold or silver were continually 
burning. The smoke of frankincense, which for ages had 
filled the temples of Hindostan, Egypt, Jerusalem, Greece, 
and Kome, now floated round the Christian altars. Marble 
basins filled with holy water, stood in the porch of Chris- 
tian churches, to sprinkle those who entered ; as was for- 
merly the case in the vestibule of Pagan temples. Early 
in the fourth century, wealthy men who founded churches, 
introduced the custom of presenting images and pictures, 
in memory of some martyr or saint ; as it had formerly 
been the custom to consecrate a statue, or a painting, to 
some temple, as a thank-offering for benefits received from 
the gods. Churches dedicated to martyrs were enriched 
by such gifts, more than others ; on account of the cures 
supposed to be performed by them. Like the ancient 
temples of Apollo and iEsculapius, they were hung with, 
tablets inscribed with golden letters, with pictures repre- 
senting cures, and with eyes, hands, and feet, made of 


silver or gold. One of the earliest descriptions of Christian 
painting is that of the church at Nola, in Italy, built in 
honour of Felix, the Martyr. On the colonnades were 
painted passages from the history of Moses and Joshua, 
Euth and Naomi, and other characters in Scripture. As 
little children receive ideas from pictures before they can 
read, so those paintings afforded some degree of instruction 
to the crowds of illiterate pilgrims who annually flocked 
to the shrine of St. Felix ; for, however rude the impres- 
sions they received, they were at least a degree above the 
mere sensual pleasures of the banquet provided on such 
occasions. Gregory of Nyssa, brother of Basil the Great, 
describing a church where the relics of Theodoras the 
Martyr were deposited, says: "The artist has here shown 
his skill in the figures of animals, and the airy sculpture 
of the stone ; while the painter's hand is most conspicuous 
in delineating the high achievements of the martyrs. The 
figure of Christ is also beheld looking down upon the 
scene." It early became a custom to have the ground plan 
of churches in the form of a cross. They went on increasing 
in magnificence and beauty, until finally a church was 
built over the tomb said to be St. Peter's, at Rome r the cost 
of which has been estimated at over forty -three millions of 

The ancient Hindoos and Egyptians were accustomed to 
carry about with them little images and symbols of their 
deities, which they considered as amulets to protect them 
from evil. Among these symbols, the Cross of Hermes 
was conspicuous. Greeks and Romans never travelled by 
land or sea, without tying about their necks small images 
of the Goddess of Fortune, or of the household gods, called 
Lares, which represented the spirits of their good ancestors. 
After the time of Constantine, it became customary for 
Christians to wear a cross as a protection from evil. Those 
made of the wood of the true cross found in Mount Cal^ 
vary, were, of course, believed to possess superior efficacy. 
The wood was cased in gold, often set with pearls or dia- 
monds. Sometimes there was a ruby or carbuncle at each 


extremity and in the centre, to denote the five bloody- 
wounds. In the sixth century, it became customary to 
have an image of Christ embossed on the cross, which was 
thus converted into a crucifix. Small images of Christ, of 
his Mother, the Apostles, and the Martyrs, were also worn 
about the neck, as amulets. 

Not only ancient ceremonies were adopted with merely 
a change of object, but in some cases the images and em- 
blems themselves were retained, with simply a change of 
name. The statue of a river-god was named the Jordan ; 
Orpheus with his lyre was called Christ ; and the image of 
Apollo was made to personate the Good Shepherd. In 
the oldest pictures of the Virgin Mary, the face was covered 
with a blue veil; from which it might be inferred that 
they were representations of Isis, taken from Egyptian 
temples, and produced under a new name. Ancient pic- 
tures of the Virgin and her Child are so much like the re- 
presentations of Isis with her infant Horus, that one might 
easily be mistaken for the other. It was the universal 
custom to represent Pagan deities accompanied by some 
emblem sacred to them, as Jupiter with his eagle, and 
Minerva with her owL In very ancient nations, as in 
Egypt and Chaldea, the emblem was sometimes joined to 
the deity. Thus Osiris is often represented with the head 
of a hawk, and Isis with a cow's head ; the hawk and the 
cow being symbols consecrated to them. Among the curi- 
osities dug up at Nineveh, winged animals abound, as they 
did in the sculptures of Egypt ; and so do human figures 
with wings and with the heads of animals. Similar things 
are found in the earliest specimens of Christian Art. The 
prophet Ezekiel describes a vision of four living creatures 
which he saw. One had the face of a man, one of a lion, 
one of an ox, and one of an eagle. The Jewish Rabbins 
considered them typical of the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, 
Ezekiel, and Daniel ; but Christians applied them to the 
four Evangelists. In the recess over the altar, in the most 
ancient Christian churches, it was common to represent a 
man's head and shoulders, with wings, to indicate Matthew; 
Vol, III.— 25 n 


a lion's head on a man's shoulders, with wings, for Mark ; 
the head of an ox, with wings, for Luke; and an eagle, 
with a glory round its head, for John. These winged ani- 
mals are generally represented as holding a volume of 
the Gospels. In some places, John is represented with 
the body of a man, and the head and clawed feet of an 
eagle. Sometimes the four stand in a row, with human 
bodies, each holding a gospel in his hands ; Mark with a 
lion's head, Luke with the head of an ox, and John with 
the head of an eagle. The resemblance to the Egyptian 
deities is very striking. In later times, artists separated 
the emblem from the figure, and represented Mark accom- 
panied by a lion, Luke by an ox, and John by an eagle. 
In some very ancient churches, and on some of the old 
Christian tombs at Rome, may still be seen effigies of Peter 
and Paul ; also on old glass lamps in the Vatican. In 
some cases, Christ is represented as a lamb with a glory 
round his head, and six sheep in a row on each side of 
him, to signify the twelve apostles. Sometimes he stands 
in the midst of the sheep, as the Good Shepherd, with a 
lamb in his arms. In an old Roman church, built in the 
sixth century, he is represented standing on the clouds, 
with the Book of Life in his hand, and the river Jordan 
flowing at his feet. 

Augustine states that the form and person of Christ were 
entirely unknown, and painted with every variety of ex- 
pression ; also that there were no authentic portraits of his 
mother, or of the apostles. Eusebius of Caesarea says that 
Abgarus, King of Edessa, in Mesopotamia, wrote to Jesus, 
inviting him to come and cure him of a disease ; and that 
Jesus replied, promising to send one of his disciples to him 
after his ascension. For the authenticity of this correspon- 
dence, Eusebius refers to public registries in the city of 
Edessa, which he had himself read. The letters were re- 
garded as genuine in his time ; and it was afterward said, 
that with his answer Jesus sent to Abgarus a perfect like- 
ness of his face, miraculously impressed upon a napkin. 
It was concealed in a niche of a wall, whence it was 


brought out by a bishop, early in the sixth century. It 
was regarded as a divine protection to the city. Some 
very old pictures of Christ have been found in ancient 
cemeteries ; but they merely embody the ideas formed of 
his character. The hair is parted in the middle of the 
head, and falls in long masses over the shoulders. The 
expression of the face is mild, serious, and plaintive. 

Lucian, the Pagan, mockingly describes Paul, as " the 
bald-headed Galilean with a hook-nose." Ancient tradi- 
tions of the Fathers also describe him as a small thin man, 
with bald head, aquiline nose, high forehead, sparkling 
eyes, and long flowing beard. They describe Peter as a 
robust old man, with broad forehead, large features, fear- 
less expression, thick gray hair, and short curly beard. 
The oldest pictures extant are according to these tra- 

After the Council of Ephesus had anathematized Nesto- 
rius, theological zeal multiplied images and pictures of the 
Virgin, bearing the inscription " Mother of God." There 
is no evidence that the church recognized them as sacred 
before the beginning of the sixth century. Their general 
diffusion and popularity throughout the Western churches 
dates from the time of Gregory the Great. On a tablet in 
the church of St. Dominick, at Rome, is the following in- 
scription : " Here, at the high altar, is preserved that image 
of the most blessed Mary, which, being delineated by St. 
Luke, the Evangelist, received its colours and forms di- 
vinely. This is that image with which St. Gregory the 
Great, as a suppliant, purified Rome; and the pestilence 
being dispelled, the angel messenger of peace, from the 
summit of the Castle of Adrian, restored health to the 
city, and the Queen of Heaven rejoiced." Pictures and 
images of Christ and the Virgin abounded everywhere be- 
fore the end of the sixth century. The picture of the 
Virgin, said to be painted by Luke, brought by the em- 
press Eudoxia from the Holy Land, was considered a ce- 
lestial safeguard to the city of Constantinople. When the 
emperor led his army to battle, it was carried on a superb 


car, in the midst of the troops. Houses were supposed to 
be protected by the presence of such pictures and in; 
and soldiers fought with more confidence under their 
guardianship. Incense was waved, and lamps kept burn- 
ing before them, in the churches. Their aid was implored 
in emergencies, and many were the miracles believed to be 
wrought by them. Images and pictures of saints and 
martyrs were supposed to possess similar efficacy, though 
less in degree. 

Many people objected to these customs; and in the eighth 
century the opposition was embodied in a numerous sect 
called Iconoclasts, which means image-breakers. Leo 
Third, emperor in the East, favoured their views, and gave 
orders that the images in churches should be demolished, 
and the pictures covered with plaster. A council at Con- 
stantinople decreed that all visible symbols of Christ, except 
in the Eucharist, were blasphemous, and that the kissing 
of images, and burning lights before them, was a renewal 
of Paganism. The emperor ordered a statue of Christ 
above the gate of his palace to be destroyed. But a crowd 
of zealots, principally women, shook the ladder so violently, 
that the men fell on the pavement and were killed. The 
Pope, Gregory Second, applauded the women for their 
piety, and defended the images. He maintained that the 
Pagan statues were fanciful representations of Demons, at 
a time when God had not visibly manifested himself; 
while the likenesses of Christ, his mother, and the saints, 
were proved to be genuine by a thousand miracles, and by 
their antiquity also, having been in use ever since the 
apostolic age. The cities of Italy swore to defend the 
Pope and the images. The emperor Leo was excommuni- 
cated. Successive emperors supported the Iconoclasts, and 
for more than a hundred years the East and the West were 
in conflict. Several battles were fought, and many people 
put to death. Councils in the East condemned images, 
while Councils in the West inflicted punishment upon all 
who maintained that religious honours should be paid to 
God alone* At last, the Pope was victorious, and an an- 


nual festival was observed in commemoration of the tri- 
umph of the images. 

The martyrs took the place of the old tutelary deities. 
Every nation, every city, every trade, every household, 
and every individual, was under the protection of some 
particular saint, whose images or pictures they especially 
venerated. Some of the oldest pictures of the Virgin had 
Lucas inscribed upon them. It was probably the name 
of some obscure artist; but it was supposed to signify 
Luke the Evangelist, who, on that account, became the 
tutelary saint of painters. A martyr named Agnes was 
the protector of flocks ; probably because her name signi- 
fied a- lamb. A martyr named Phocas was the guardian 
of sailors. During a voyage, the crew always set a plate 
for him, believing that he was invisibly present at their 
meals. Each day, they took turns in purchasing the plate ; 
and when the vessel arrived safely in port, the money thus 
collected was distributed among the poor, in token of gra- 
titude to their tutelary saint. The old autumn festivals in 
honour of Ceres, were transferred to the Virgin Mary ; 
and in many places the peasants laid the first flowers and 
the last fruits upon her altar, as they had been accustomed 
to do for the Pagan goddess. 


The number of saints multiplied so fast, and so many 
old customs were transferred to the worship of fictitious 
personages, that a Council at Frankfort, in the eighth cen- 
tury, deemed it necessary to prohibit the invocation of any 
new saints. At last the Pope decided that only those 
should be regarded as true saints, whom the church authen- 
ticated by certain public ceremonies, called canonization. 
This custom has been thought to resemble the Eoman 
apotheosis, by which emperors and great men were placed 
among the gods. But ceremonies of apotheosis were some- 
times performed for the living, while saints were never 
canonized till after their death. Nearly all the Fathers 
Vol. III. — 25* 


and the celebrated monks were canonized, and, of course, 
received the title of Saint. The zealous Tertullian was not 
canonized, because he became a The good and 
great Origen met with the same fate, because the Arians 
found a defence for their doctrines in his theory of ema- 
nations ; while, by a singular chance, George, Bishop of 
Alexandria, was sainted, although he was an Arian. He 
became wealthy by furnishing the army with bacon ; and 
after he was forced upon the people as a bishop, he made 
himself odious to all classes by his greediness for gain, his 
tyrannical temper, and his persecuting spirit. But as the 
populace murdered him during the reign of Julian, he was 
considered a martyr to Pagan animosity, was canonized, 
and became the renowned St. George, the guardian saint 
of England. The emperor Constantine had doubl e honours, 
His Pagan subjects, by ceremonies of apotheosis, placed 
him among the gods, whose worship he had abjured, and 
Christians afterward placed him among the saints, by pro- 
cess of canonization. In the Eastern parts of the empire, it 
was common to stamp medals with a monogram, signify- 
ing Jesus, Mary, and Constantine. 

Rosaries. — The anchorites of ancient Hindostan were 
accustomed to say their prayers on strings of Lotus seeds, 
or cords with knots tied at intervals. The Buddhists used 
strings of berries, or beads, for the same purpose. In the 
sixth century, the Benedictine monks are said to have re- 
peated their prayers according to a series of beads on a 
string. This custom afterward became universal in the 
Catholic church. The poor used the stones of olives, and 
other hard seeds ; but the wealthy wore the rosary as a 
rich ornament, formed of gold, pearl, agate, and other pre- 
cious stones. 

Authority of Tradition.— The traditions of the Fa- 
thers were decided to be of equal authority with Scripture; 
and such doctrines or customs as derived no support from 
Scripture were sustained by appeals to tradition, on the 


ground that they had been orally transmitted from the 
Apostles. But the authority of the Fathers was not ac- 
knowledged, if in any of their views they departed from the 
standard of the church. Thus the writings of Tertullian, 
after he became a Montanist, were not accepted as author- 
ity, and the writings of Origen were condemned and burned. 


The Old Testament. — For some time after the death 
of Christ, his followers had no other Sacred Books than 
those of the Old Testament. Hebrew being a language 
unknown to scholars until after the establishment of Chris- 
tianity, the Fathers depended entirely on the Grreek trans- 
lation of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint. It has 
been stated, in the chapter on the Jews, that the Alexan- 
drian Jews added to that version several books, which they 
regarded as sacred, though not as strictly canonical. These 
books are what we now call the Apocrypha of the Old 
Testament. The Septuagint being held in very great rev- 
erence by the Hellenistic Jews, and by the early Christians, 
there grew up a tendency to consider all the books it con- 
tained as equally sacred. Origen accepted the book of 
Baruch, which, in the Alexandrian version, was appended 
to the prophecies of Jeremiah. He also quoted from the 
story of Susanna, as genuine Scripture. To some who ex- 
pressed doubts on that point, he replied: "Consider whe- 
ther it is not well to think of those words, ' Eemove not 
the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.' " The 
learned De Wette says : " There can be no doubt that the 
most celebrated teachers of the second and third centuries 
made frequent and public use of the writings we call apoc- 
ryphal. They pronounce them inspired and divine, quote 
them as authorities, and regard them with the same esteem 
as the canonical writings. The Wisdom of Solomon, and 
of Sirach, the Books of Macabees, Tobit, and Judith, are 
most frequently appealed to." 

Several of the Fathers believed that Ezra restored the 


mutilated Pentateuch, and other books of the Old Testa- 
ment. They doubtless received this idea d< >m Alexandrian 
Jews, who drew that inference from the fourteenth chapter 
vi' the second book, purporting to be written by Esdras 
( Ezra]. In that chapter, Ezra is represented as saying to 
the Lord: "The world is set in darkness, and they that 
dwell therein are without light. For thy Law is burnt; 
therefore no man knoweth the things that are done of thee, 
or the works that shall begin. But if I have found grace 
before thee, send the Holy Spirit into me, and I shall write 
all that hath been done in the world since the beginning, 
which was written in thy Law ; that men may find thy 
path, and that those in the latter days may live. And the 
next day, behold a voice called me, saying, Esdras, open 
thy mouth and drink ! Then I opened my mouth, and he 
reached me a cup, full as it were with water, but the co- 
lour of it was like fire. And I took it and drank ; and 
when I had drunk of it, my heart uttered understanding, 
and wisdom grew in my breast; for my spirit strength- 
ened my memory." In the Book of Esdras, it is stated 
that it was written by Ezra, who was captive in Babylon. 
But the most learned critics generally agree that it was 
written by some Jewish convert to Christianity, well ac- 
quainted with Eabbinical traditions. The Book of Wis- 
dom, ascribed to Solomon, is supposed by Biblical critics 
to have been written by some Alexandrian Jew, about a 
century before Christ. It contains internal evidence that 
the writer was imbued with the ideas of Plato. 

The habit of sustaining doctrines by quotations from the 
apocryphal books led to a great deal of trouble in contro- 
versies with Jews of Palestine, who had always disliked 
the Septuagint, and regarded with aversion the new books 
it contained. The Septuagint varied in some respects from 
the Hebrew original, and different copies of the Septuagint 
did not agree together. Origen complains that many er- 
rors had crept in, "from the negligence of some transcri- 
bers, and the boldness of others." To obviate difficulties 
arising from this state of things, he undertook the immense 


labour of revising the copies of the Septuagint, and the 
translations from it, comparing them with the Hebrew, and 
giving the different readings in five distinct columns. 
Prideaux says : " The copies which went about in Origen's 
time, for use among Hellenistic Jews and Christians, were 
very much corrupted, through the mistakes and negligence 
of transcribers, whose hands, by often transcription, it had 
now long gone through. By comparing many different 
copies and editions, he endeavoured to clear it from errors 
of transcribers; and also, by comparing the Septuagint 
with the Hebrew original, to clear it from the mistakes of 
the first composers also ; for many such he found in it, not 
only by omissions and additions, but also by wrong inter- 
pretations made in it by the first authors of that version. 
The Law, which was the most exactly translated of all, had 
many of these, but other parts a great many more." Print- 
ing was then unknown; and as Origen's learned work 
consisted of many volumes, it was seldom copied, not only 
on account of its bulk, but from the difficulty of finding 
Christians who understood Hebrew. It was, however, ex- 
ceedingly valuable for reference in later times. 

In Jerome's time, copies of the Septuagint had become 
yet more changed by transcribers. A Latin translation 
had been made from the Greek before the middle of the 
second century ; and as Latin was the vernacular language 
of the Koman world, such versions naturally multiplied 
rapidly. Augustine says: "The number of those who 
have translated the Scriptures from Hebrew to Greek may 
be counted ; but those who have translated the Greek into 
Latin cannot be counted." These various versions had 
fallen into lamentable confusion. Passages had been put 
in, and others taken out, or altered by transcribers, to sus- 
tain some doctrine they favoured, or overthrow some doc- 
trine which they deemed heretical. Scarcely any two 
copies could be found exactly alike, and the discrepancies 
were often of a serious character. All sincere believers 
were alarmed by such a state of things. Damasus, Patri- 
arch of Eome, entreated the learned Jerome to try to re- 


medy the evil. Accordingly, in the latter part of the 
fourth century, he carefully compared the Greek and Latin 
translations of the Old Testament with Hebrew originals; 
and Latin copies of the New Testament with the most ap- 
proved manuscripts in Greek. " His object being to retain 
existing expressions, as far as possible, and not to intro- 
duce new ones, except where the true sense had entirely 
disappeared." lie encountered innumerable difficulties, 
not only on account of the inextricable confusion of Latin 
copies, but because the Greek also had been much altered, 
by carelessness or design. He complains that he found 
the copies very unlike in different places. Jews, in the 
course of their controversies, continually accused the Chris- 
tian Fathers of falsifying texts, to suit their own polemical 
purposes ; and the Fathers retorted the charge upon 
them. These mutual accusations doubtless grew in part 
out of the fact that the Septuagint version differed from 
the Hebrew Scriptures in some particulars, and also con- 
tained several books which the Fathers were accustomed 
to quote as authority, but which were never regarded as 
either canonical or sacred by Palestine Jews. 

A learned Jew, who had been converted to Christianity, 
was employed by Jerome to instruct him in Hebrew. He 
says: "I sweat in learning a foreign tongue, only for this 
reason, that the Jews might no longer insult the churches, 
by charging them with the falsity of their copies of the 
Scriptures." The task was an arduous one. The Hebrew 
language, on account of the exclusive habits of the nation, 
and their discouragement of literature, was concise, meagre, 
and limited. A sentence in Hebrew required twice as 
many words to express it in Latin. Punctuation was not 
in use in those days. The Hebrews omitted vowels in 
their writing, as did the Egyptians in their hieroglyphics. 
Of course, the translator, when he inserted them, was 
obliged to rely solely upon the sense of the context. If 
an English writer should express a word by p t, it would be 
left for a translator to judge whether he meant pat, or pet, or 
pit, or pot, or put. Prideaux says : " It must be confessed 


that there are in Hebrew several combinations of the same 
consonants, susceptible of different punctuations, and there- 
by make different words, of different significations; and 
therefore, when put alone, have an uncertain reading. But 
it is quite otherwise, when they are joined in context with 
other words." In " The Englishman's Hebrew and Chal- 
dea Concordance to the Bible," it is stated that the same 
Hebrew word has four different English meanings in four 
different places. In Genesis 2 : 7, it is translated nostrils ; 
in Genesis 3: 19, it is translated face; in Genesis 27: 45, 
it is translated anger; in Exodus 34: 6, it is translated 
suffering. It was for the judgment of the translator to de- 
cide whether the last-mentioned verse should be translated : 
"The Lord thy God, merciful and gracious, long-nostrilled, 
long-faced, long-angered, or long-suffering ." Other similar 
instances are adduced to show the extreme difficulty of 
translating Hebrew correctly. The habits of many Jewish 
copyists created other obstacles. Notwithstanding their 
great reverence for the words of Scripture, they were prone 
to sacrifice correctness to the neat appearance of their 
manuscripts. If they made a slight mistake, they left it 
unerased, for fear of a blot ; and if they wrote part of a 
word at the end of a line, they often began the word again 
on the next line, in order to make the lines appear even. 

Jerome was remarkably well-fitted for the task, by his 
great learning, his laborious diligence, and especially by 
his long residence in Palestine, and consequent familiarity 
with the language, traditions, and localities of the country. 
His version has always been highly commended by schol- 
ars. De Wette calls it "perhaps the best work antiquity 
can boast." But he incurred much obloquy at the time. 
Converts from the Hellenistic Jews had deeply impressed 
upon Christians their own great reverence for the Septua- 
gint. The early Fathers agreed with them in believing 
that every single word of the translation had been miracu- 
lously inspired by the same Holy Spirit, who inspired the 
original Hebrew authors. Palestine Jews had been greatly 
shocked at the impiety of their Alexandrian brethren, 


when they translated their Scriptures into Greek; and a 
majority of Christians were equally shocked at Jerome, for 
supposing that the Greek translation could have any im- 
perfections. Rufinus indignantly asked how such impiety 
could be expiated, that perverted the very Law itself mto 
something different from what the Apostles handed down. 
He complains that "the whole history of Susanna, which 
formerly afforded an example of chastity to the churches, 
is cut out by this fellow, cast away, and neglected." 

Neander remarks : " This appeared to many, even to 
those who did not belong to the class of ignorant persons, 
a great piece of impiety — to pretend to understand the Old 
Testament better than the seventy inspired interpreters! 
better than the Apostles, who had followed this transla- 
tion, and who would have given another, if they had con- 
sidered it necessary ! To allow one's self to be so misled 
by Jews, as for their accommodation to falsify the writings 
of the Old Testament!" 

A bishop of one of the churches in Africa tried to intro- 
duce the corrected version of the Scriptures, but was forced 
to lay it aside, for fear all his people would desert him. 
One of the translator's cotemporaries published a letter in 
Jerome's own name, in which he was represented as feeling 
great remorse for what he had done. But Jerome imme- 
diately disclaimed any such feeling concerning a task, 
which he had conscientiously undertaken, at the earnest 
intreaty of the Patriarch of Rome. He translated the 
Apocryphal Books into Latin, and spoke very favourably 
of Tobit in the Preface. He says the church permitted no 
one under thirty years of age to read the beginning of 
Genesis, or the Song of Solomon, or the beginning and end 
of Ezekiel ; that the mind might be in its greatest vigour 
to attain a perfect knowledge of the mystical sense of those 
portions of Scripture. Spiritual-minded Hindoos were 
accustomed to consider all descriptions of sexual love, in 
their Sacred Books, as typical of the complete absorption 
of the human soul into the Supreme Soul of the universe. 
The voluptuous imagery of the Song of Solomon was alle- 


gorically interpreted by Christians, to signify the perfect 
union of Christ with his bride the church. 

Though Jerome's version found many advocates among 
the learned, it was not received into general use for two 
centuries. Gregory the Great acknowledged that he used 
the best old version, and the new likewise, for evidence ; 
and the new version was thenceforth considered sanctioned. 
As the use of two versions caused confusion, one was made 
from both, forming the Latin Bible used by the Catholic 
church, well known under the title of The Vulgate, which 
signifies the common edition ; for originally the word vul- 
gar was merely used to designate what was common. The 
Yulgate contains all the Books we call Apocryphal, except 
the Books of Esdras. Jerome, and some other theologians 
of his time, did not consider those Books canonical. But 
the church generally received them, as it did other por- 
tions of the Old Testament, as an inspired guide. 

The New Testament. — The Christian Scriptures, called 
the New Testament, are composed of separate writings, 
very different from each other. First, there are four bio- 
graphies of Christ, obviously fragmentary ; some contain- 
ing incidents and discourses which are omitted in the 
others. Second, there is a journal of the trials of Chris- 
tianity when it first began to spread abroad from Palestine. 
Third, there is a series of letters written by the first Chris- 
tian missionaries to the churches they had founded, con- 
taining such advice, encouragement, or reproof, as their 
situation required. Lastly, mysterious visions, regarded 
as prophetic, and supposed to have been written by the 
Apostle John, in his old age. 

The first of the biographies, by Matthew, one of the 
Twelve Apostles, is supposed to have been written in 
Palestine, and the only one written in Hebrew, [Aramaean, 
or Syro-Chaldaic] It more abounds with references to the 
peculiar customs of the Jews, than any of the other biogra- 
phies ; and seems to aim particularly at conciliating and 
converting that people. It contains a genealogy of Jesus 
Vol. III.— 26 


through David, up to Abraham ; the line in which the 
Messiah was expected by the Jews. It relates his birth in 
Bethlehem, and refers to an ancient Hebrew prophecy 
concerning that city of David. It describes his being car- 
ried into Egypt, and adduces his return as a verification of 
Hosea's words: "When Israel was a child, I called my 
son out of Egypt." This seems like the Rabbinical mode 
of interpretation ; for Hosea obviously alludes to the bring- 
ing of the tribes of Israel out of Egypt, in the childhood of 
that people. In the book of Matthew, Christ is repre- 
sented as charging his Apostles not to go "into the way of 
the Gentiles, or enter into any city of Samaria;" an injunc- 
tion exceedingly Jewish in its character, and not mentioned 
in the other Gospels. Jerome noticed that Matthew quoted 
passages out of the Old Testament differently from the 
other Evangelists ; that he did not appear to use the Sep- 
tuagint, but to translate from the ancient Hebrew to the 
modern Hebrew, or Syro-Chaldaic, which was spoken in 
the time of Christ. Learned commentators in modern 
times have made the same observation. In fact, the whole 
Gospel bears marks of having been written before Chris- 
tianity began to spread among the Gentiles. It cannot be 
precisely ascertained at what period Matthew wrote his 
recollections of the sayings and doings of Jesus. Dr. 
Henry Owen, in his Observations on the Four Gospels, 
thinks there is evidence that it was written A. D. 38 ; 
which would be two years after the crucifixion, according 
to the general supposition that Christ was thirty-six years 
old when he died. Jones, in his Canonical Authority of 
the New Testament, supposes it to have been written A. D. 
41. Dr. Lardner in his Credibility of the Gospel History, 
dates it A. d. 64. The writings of Paul make no allusions 
to its existence. The Apostles were doubtless in the habit 
of describing orally the example and maxims of their holy 
Teacher; and this would excite a desire to have them 
recorded. Matthew would naturally be selected for that 
purpose ; for having been a publican, or tax-gatherer, he 
would necessarily be familiar with writing ; an accomplish- 


ment very uncommon among the class to which the other 
Apostles belonged. That there was an ancient copy of a 
Gospel believed to have been by Matthew, and written in 
the modern Hebrew dialect, called Aramaean, is affirmed by 
Irenaeus, Tatian, Origen, Jerome, and many other of the 
Fathers. There was a current tradition, from very early 
times, that Barnabas carried everywhere with him a Gos- 
pel written in Hebrew, by the hand of Matthew; and that 
when any were diseased, or possessed with devils, he laid 
it on their bosoms, and they were healed. Eusebius states 
that Pantaenus, a Christian writer of the second century, 
found in India a Gospel according to Matthew, which had 
been left there by Bartholomew, one of the Twelve Apos- 
tles; and that it was written in Hebrew. To this state- 
ment, Jerome adds that Pantaenus brought the Gospel back 
with him to Alexandria, and that it was written in Hebrew 
letters. The learned Neander thinks there is satisfactory 
evidence that Bartholomew carried a Hebrew Gospel with 
him; and he adds: " It was probably that compilation of 
our Lord's discourses, by Matthew, which lies at the basis 
of our present Gospel according to Matthew." 

In the very earliest days of the church, the Judaizing 
Christians, already described under the name of Ebionites, 
had but one Gospel, and that was in Aramaean Hebrew. 
They believed it to be an authentic account of the sayings 
and doings of Jesus, as related by the Twelve Apostles, 
and recorded by Matthew. Epiphanius, who was origin- 
ally a Jew, says it did not contain the two first chapters. 
Of course, the miraculous conception, the visit of the wise 
men, the flight into Egypt, and the slaughter of the chil- 
dren at Bethlehem, were omitted. It began with the bap- 
tism of Jesus ; on which occasion, it declared that a great 
light shone all over the place, and fire burst forth from 
the Jordan. The copy used by the sect called Nazarenes 
appears to have differed in some respects from the Gospel 
used by the other Ebionites; for Jerome, who saw the 
manuscript, alludes to it as containing the two first chap- 
ters, and makes some quotations from them. The Ebion- 


ites considered Christ a mere man, with no peculiar 
circumstances preceding or attending his birth. But the 
Gospel used by the Nazarenes appears to have adopted the 
Cabalistic notion that the Wisdom of God was a feminine 
Spirit, the mother of Adam Kadman, or The Primal Hea- 
venly Man, who appeared as the earthly Adam, and was 
to reappear as the New Adam, the Messiah. For this 
Gospel declared that the Holy Spirit was the mother of 
Christ. She is represented as descending upon him at 
baptism, and thus saluting him : u My Son, in all the pro- 
phets I expected thee, that thou shouldst come, and I 
might find in thee a place of rest ; for thou art my resting 
place ; thou art my first-born son, who reignest forever." 
Christ also is represented as saying: "My mother, the 
Holy Spirit took me by one of my hairs, and conveyed 
me to the holy mountain Tabor." In Gnostic theories, the 
Divine Wisdom, under the name of Sophia, figures very con- 
spicuously, as the mother of Christ. This idea of a Mother 
of Spirits might have been derived from the writings 
of Philo, or the Cabalists, or from this Nazarene Gospel. 

It seems likely that the Ebionite Gospel was in use in 
Justin Martyr's time ; for he makes the following quota- 
tion from the Gospel of Matthew with which he was ac- 
quainted : " When Jesus came to the river Jordan, where 
John was baptizing, as he descended into the water, a fire 
was kindled in Jordan." When Jerome undertook the 
revision of both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, at 
the close of the fourth century, he examined the Nazarene 
copy of Matthew. He says : " Matthew was the first who 
composed a Gospel of Christ ; and, for the sake of those 
among the Jews who believed in Christianity, he wrote it 
in the Hebrew language and letters; but it is uncertain 
who translated it into Greek. Moreover, the Hebrew copy 
itself is to this time preserved in the library of Caesarea. 
The Nazarenes, who live in Berea, a city of Syria, granted 
me the favour of writing it out." Again he says : " The 
Gospel which the Nazarenes and Ebionites use, which I 
lately translated out of Hebrew into Greek, is by most 


esteemed the authentic Gospel of Matthew." Epiphanius 
says the Nazarene Gospel was more entire than the Ebion- 
ite. Irasneus, Eusebius, and Epiphanius say that the Gos- 
pel received by the Nazarenes and Ebionites was the 
Gospel of Matthew, altered in some things, according to 
their different sentiments. Ebionites broke off all commu- 
nication with other Christians, in the time of Adrian, as 
already described. Being disliked by both Jews and 
Christians, they dwindled away, and in the fifth century, 
no traces of them were left. Christians would be likely to 
take little interest in the Hebrew copy of their Gospel, 
which few could read ; and it was either destroyed or lost. 
There appears to have been a Greek translation of Mat- 
thew very early in existence ; for Clement of Rome, Poly- 
carp, Ignatius, and Justin Martyr are represented as quoting 
from it. There has been much controversy concerning the 
two first chapters, as they have been handed down to us. 
The reasons given for doubting their authenticity may be 
briefly stated as follows : They are acknowledged to have 
existed in the Greek copies only. Though much has been 
written concerning Herod, by both Jewish and Gentile 
historians, none of them allude to such a monstrous act of 
cruelty, as the slaughter of all the children in the neigh- 
bourhood of Bethlehem. Several of the old Greek manu- 
scripts, now in existence, begin at the eighteenth verse of 
the first chapter. In the British Museum, is an ancient 
Greek copy written in capitals. It is supposed to be twelve 
hundred years old, and is known as the Harleian Manu- 
script. The genealogy of Christ is separated from the 
Gospel, in the following manner : 

" Thus far the Genealogy." 
" Here begins the Gospel according to Matthew." 

The same separation is made in a manuscript used by 
the ancient Britons, now in the Cottonian Library, in Eng- 
land ; also in Latin copies, written in red ink, in Anglo- 
Norman characters, about the beginning of the eleventh 
Vol. III.— 26* 


century. Eusebius, speaking of Symmach us, an Ebionite, 

who was learned in Greek and Hebrew, saws: "Svniina- 
chus was of the Ebionites, who suppose Christ to be a mere 
man, born of Joseph and Mary. There are now Commen- 
taries of his, in which it is said that, disputing about the 
Gospel of Matthew, he eagerly defends that heresy." This 
Ebionite Commentary, probably disputing the account of 
the miraculous conception, in the first chapter of Matthew, 
was destroyed or lost, as was the case with all writings 
deemed heretical ; therefore posterity has had no oppor- 
tunity to judge impartially concerning their merits. Those 
who maintain the authenticity of the two first chapters of 
Matthew, urge that they exist in the Syriac translation, 
the most ancient manuscript now extant ; also that Irenaeus 
alludes to the flight into Egypt, and that he, Clement of 
Alexandria, and Tertullian, all speak of the genealogy as 
a portion of Matthew's Gospel. Many suppose that Mat- 
thew left a Hebrew Gospel with the Jews, and, after he 
travelled abroad, wrote a Greek translation of it, to which 
he appended the two first chapters, for the use of the Gen- 
tiles ; and this opinion is sanctioned by high authority in 

The second biography of Jesus was written by Mark, 
the nephew of Barnabas. He was not one of the Apostles, 
and it is not recorded that he was ever with Jesus, or that 
he was among the disciples when the Holy Ghost de- 
scended upon them. Peter, in his first Epistle, calls him 
his son, and it has thence been inferred that he was con- 
verted to Christianity by his preaching. He is supposed 
to have been the son of the pious woman mentioned in the 
twelfth chapter of the Acts, at whose house the early dis- 
ciples had met to pray, when they were surprised by the 
sudden appearance of Peter, whom an angel had conducted 
out of prison. Mark accompanied the Apostles in their 
missionary travels. Paul speaks of him as " profitable 
in the ministry," and alludes to him as being his com- 
panion in Rome. Nothing more is related of him in the 
Scriptures. But there was a tradition among the Fathers 


that he afterward went into Asia, where he met Peter, and 
returned with him to Rome. It is supposed that he there 
wrote his Gospel, under the direction of Peter. No one 
knows at what time it was written ; but as Peter was be- 
lieved to be in Eome during the reign of Nero, it is sup- 
posed that the Gospel was written sometime between A. d. 
63 and 67. This account rests on the authority of early 
tradition, and of writings attributed to Clement, Bishop of 
Rome, said to have been ordained by Peter. These writ- 
ings state that Peter's hearers at Rome were very desirous 
to have written down what he related to them about 
Christ ; and that they did not desist from intreating Mark 
to do it. At last they prevailed upon him ; and Peter 
gave it his sanction, as an authentic record, that might be 
read in the churches. A considerable portion of this Gos- 
pel is word for word like Matthew ; but, being intended for 
Gentile converts, it passes over much that was adduced by 
Matthew to prove Jesus was the Messiah. It gives no ac- 
count of his birth or childhood, but begins with his baptism. 
Quotations from Hebrew prophets, and allusions to Jewish 
customs are avoided, and words and phrases not likely to 
be understood by Gentile Christians are explained. 

The third biography of Jesus was written by Luke, who 
accompanied Paul in many of his missionary labours. 
Eusebius states that he was a native of Antioch ; but the 
intimate knowledge of Jewish doctrines, customs, and 
ceremonies, displayed in his writings, has led to the conclu- 
sion that he was either a Jew, or of Hebrew parentage. It 
is not known when, or by whom, he was converted to 
Christianity. He is described as a man of education, and 
the style of his Greek is said to corroborate the statement. 
Paul calls him " the beloved physician." He does not ap- 
pear in connection with Christianity for many years after 
the death of Christ, and it is not recorded that he was per- 
sonally acquainted with any of the Twelve Apostles. Bibli- 
cal critics suppose that he wrote his Gospel not far from 
A. D. 63, which was nearly thirty years after the crucifixion. 
In his introduction, he apparently alludes to spurious 


Gospels, which probably had begun to be written by that 
time ; for they were very numerous in the second century. 
He says: " Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set 
forth in order a declaration of those things which are most 
surely believed among us, even as they delivered theni 
unto us, who from the beginning were eye-witnesses, and 
ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having 
had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, 
to write unto thee, in order that thou mightest know the 
certainty of those things wherein thou hast been in- 

This Gospel bears very evident marks of being written 
for Gentile converts. Matthew traces the genealogy of 
Jesus up to Abraham, whom the Jews considered the pro- 
genitor of their nation ; but Luke traces it up to Adam. 
The two genealogies are very unlike, both in names and 
the number of generations. Between David and Jesus 
scarcely any of the names are similar; and Matthew gives 
only twenty-six generations, while Luke gives forty-one. 
Matthew dates the birth of Christ in the reign of Herod, 
king of Judea, but Luke dates from Augustus the Koman 
emperor. Luke mentions a census taken by the Roman 
government, as a reason why Jesus was born at Bethlehem, 
when his parents were on their way to Jerusalem to be 
taxed. After the forty days necessary for the purification 
of his mother were completed, according to the Law of 
Moses, he says they returned " into Galilee, to their own 
city Nazareth." Matthew makes no mention of Nazareth, 
until after Christ had begun his public ministry ; and he saj* s 
that Herod's command to slaughter all the young children 
was confined to the coasts of Bethlehem. That village 
was five miles south of Jerusalem; but Nazareth was fifty 
miles north of it. Of course, there would be no necessity 
of flying into Egypt from Nazareth. Luke makes no 
mention of the visit of the Three Magi, guided by a mirac- 
ulous star, of the slaughter of the infants, or the flight into 
Egypt. But he relates several things not mentioned by 
the other Evangelists. Among them are the miraculous 


circumstances attending the birth of John the Baptist; the 
appearance of the angel Gabriel to Mary; the visit of 
Mary to Elizabeth ; the vision of the shepherds ; the pro- 
phesies of Simeon and Anna when the infant Jesus was 
carried into the temple to be circumcised ; his disputation 
with the learned doctors of the Law w r hen he was twelve 
years old ; the story of the penitent thief on the cross ; and 
of Christ's walking to Emmaus with his disciples after his 

The fourth Gospel is less biographical, and more doc- 
trinal and spiritual than the others. It is attributed to 
John, the beloved Apostle, and confidential friend of 
Jesus ; and is supposed to have been written at Ephesus, in 
his old age, after Jerusalem was destroyed, the Jews scat- 
tered abroad, and all the other Apostles dead. It was 
written for a foreign people, in a foreign land, and a 
foreign tongue. Irenaeus declares that John was urged to 
do it by the bishops of Asia Minor, in their anxiety to re- 
fute Cerinthus, the Gnostic, who adopted the old Hindoo 
idea concerning the illusive nature of incarnations, and 
said that Christ only appeared to have a human body. 
John is the only one of the Evangelists who describes 
blood and water flowing from the side of Jesus when he 
was pierced by the Roman soldier ; a circumstance which 
could not have happened, if he had been merely a spiritual 
phantom, as Cerinthus taught. John likewise expressly 
says : " The Logos was God, and was made flesh, and dwelt 
among men." Some of the later Fathers, who lived after 
the Arian controversy, said John wrote his Gospel to re- 
fute the Ebionites, who maintained that Jesus was born of 
human parents, like other mortals. The account of the 
woman, to whom Jesus said, "Go thy way, and sin no 
more," is omitted in most of the oldest manuscripts, and in 
the Syriac translation. Tertullian strongly objected to 
the story, as seeming to favour licentiousness. Chrysostom, 
when he wrote a Commentary on the whole Gospel of 
John, left it out. Jerome and Augustine state that in their 
time the Greek Christians did not insert it in their copies. 


The verse in the fourth chapter, concerning an angel's 
troubling the pool of water, is wanting in some manuscripts. 

The Book of Acts takes its name from the Latin word 
Acta, meaning Records. It is a very clear and circumstan- 
tial journal of the progress of Christianity during the first 
thirty years of missionary labour; supposed to be written 
A. D. 63 or 64. The Fathers unanimously attributed it to 
Luke the Evangelist; and this opinion is sustained by in- 
ternal evidence. The Apostles Matthew and John make 
no mention of the ascension of Christ. Mark and Luke, 
who were converted after that event, allude to it indefin- 
itely in their Gospels ; but in the Acts of the Apostles, it 
is stated, that while he was talking with his disciples, after 
the resurrection, he visibly ascended into the clouds. 
" And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven, as he 
went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel, 
and said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into 
heaven ? This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into 
heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him 
go into heaven." 

The Apocalypse is a series of visions, or Revelations, 
from Heaven, to the Apostle John, either at Ephesus r or 
in the island of Patmos ; supposed to have been written 
A. D. 95 or 96. It has given rise to more theories, and ex- 
cited more controversy, than any other book in the Chris- 
tian Scriptures. In the first ages, it was not unanimously 
accepted. Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertul- 
lian, speak of it as received among the inspired writings. 
Athanasius is of opinion that the Egyptian churches so re- 
ceived it. But before the sixth century, only a portion of 
the Eastern churches received it as canonical. Jerome 
says it was rejected by the Greek churches in his time. 
( I regory, Bishop of Nyssa, classed it among spurious books. 
Eusebius says : " Some reject the Apocalypse of John, but 
others class it with the acknowledged books." One of the 
arguments brought against its being written by the Apostle 
John was, that one of the churches it addressed was the 
church at Thyatira, which was not in existence till after 


the death of John. Epiphanius met that objection by say- 
ing that John doubtless wrote prophetically; foreseeing 
that there ivould be a church at Thyatira. A Council at 
Laodicea, in three hundred and sixty, did not include it 
in the canon ; though Laodicea was one of the churches to 
which it was addressed. 

Concerning some of the Epistles, there was also much 
division of opinion among the Fathers of the church. 
Clement of Alexandria believed the Epistle to the Hebrews 
was from the hand of Paul ; but Irenasus and Tertullian 
did not. De Wette says : " Origen had doubts, more or 
less strong, concerning the Epistle to the Hebrews ; the 
Epistle of James ; the Second Epistle of Peter ; the second 
and third Epistles of John ; and the Epistle of Jude." 
Origen says: " Peter left one acknowledged Epistle ; that 
he wrote a second is doubted." " The thoughts of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews are admirable, and not inferior to 
any of the writings acknowledged to be apostolical ; but 
the style and arrangement belong to some one who remem- 
bered the thoughts of the Apostle, and wrote commentaries 
on the words of his teacher. If any church receive this as 
the epistle of Paul, let it be commended therefore ; since 
the men of old time did deliver it to us as Paul's, not 
without cause. But who it was that wrote the epistle-, of a 
truth God only knows. Before our time, it was the opinion 
of some that Clement, Bishop of Rome, wrote that epistle ; 
of others, that it was written by Luke, who wrote also the 
Gospel and the Acts." Didymus says : " It is not to be 
concealed that the Second Epistle of Peter is forged ; and 
although it is published, yet it is not in the canon." 
Clement of Alexandria says : " Let it be understood that 
the Epistle of James is spurious." Jerome says : " The 
Epistle was published in James's name, by some other 
person ; and in progress of time it obtained authority." 
The following verse in John's first Epistle is believed by 
very many to have been interpolated, either by design of 
some transcriber, or by the accidental insertion of some 
marginal note into the body of the text: " There are three 


that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the 
LToly Ghost ; and these three are one." This passage is 
said to be wanting in the most ancient Greek manuscripts, 
in more than forty of the Latin translations, and in all the 
translations made before Jerome's time, in Syriac, Arabic, 
Coptic, and Persian ; also in the ancient Armenian ver- 
sions. It was not quoted by any of the Fathers preceding 
Jerome. The learned Neander says : " It is undoubtedly 
spurious ; and in its ungenuine shape testifies to the fact 
how foreign such a collocation is from the style of the New 
Testament." The Rev. George Campbell, a distinguished 
Scotch divine, in the Preface to his Translation of the 
Gospels, says : " Many interpolations crept in by remiss- 
ness of transcribers. Some few, however, appear to have 
been the result of design. After the Arian heresy enlisted 
the passions of belligerents, there appears to be some 
ground for ascribing to the pride and jealousy of polemics 
a design to foist into the text some words favourable to their 
distinguishing tenets. Some of these were soon detected ; 
others have continued for many generations." 

Eusebius of Cassarea, who lived in the third century, 
before any councils of the church had established what 
books belonged to the canon, attempted to answer the oft- 
repeated question, " Which of the writings that pretend to 
belong to the New Testament, really do belong to it?" In 
making his catalogue he followed " the tradition of the 
church," by which he meant the prevailing opinion of all 
the Christian communities, both oral and written, as far as 
he could ascertain it. He divides the Christian Sacred 
Writings into three classes. First, those universally re- 
ceived; as the Four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, 
thirteen Epistles from Paul, one Epistle from Peter, and 
one from John. In the second class, he places those which 
were doubted of by some; as the Epistle to the Hebrews, 
and the Apocalypse of John. In the third class, he places 
those doubted of by many ; as the Epistle of James, the 
Second Epistle of Peter, the Second and Third Epis- 
tles of John, and the Epistle of Jude. He says the Four 


Gospels were pronounced canonical by the Apostle John. 

Polycarp quotes from several books of the New Testa- 
ment, especially from Paul's Epistles, and the First Epistle 
to Peter ; which shows how very early those writings were 
in circulation. The early Fathers all testify that all the 
churches in their time agreed in accepting, as undoubtedly 
authentic and inspired, the Four Gospels, the Acts of the 
Apostles, thirteen Epistles from Paul, [exclusive of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews,] the First Epistle from Peter, and 
the First Epistle from John. Irenasus calls them "The 
Divine Scriptures"— " The Oracles of God"— "The Lord's 
Scriptures." Clement calls them "The God-inspired 
Scriptures." The four biographies of Christ very early 
received the name of Evangels, from Greek words meaning 
Good Tidings. In later times, they were called Gospels, 
from Saxon words having the same signification. 

Nearly a hundred years elapsed, after the death of 
Christ, before there was any entire collection made of the 
Christian Sacred Writings. The Canon had been nearly 
or quite settled, by general usage, and the authority of 
learned Fathers of the church, before Councils made any 
decisions upon the question. The rule assumed by the 
Fathers was to limit their choice to such books as were 
written either by Apostles, or disciples of the Apostles ; 
but this was not invariable — for the writings of Luke were 
included within the Canon, and those of Clement at Rome 
were excluded, though both were believed to have been 
companions of Paul. The testimony of the oldest ecclesi- 
astical writers, and the authority of the church, formed the 
basis on which faith in the genuineness of the books rested. 
Origen says : " Among the Jews, many pretended to pro- 
phesy, and were false prophets. So likewise in the New 
Testament, many have attempted to write Gospels, but all 
are not received. You must know that not only four, but 
many Gospels have been written ; from which those that 
we have are selected, and handed down by the churches. 
The church receives Four Gospels." We approve nothing 
but what the church approves." Augustine, who wrote 
Vol. III.— 27 o 


nearly two centuries later, says : " The church follows this 
rule with respect to the canonical Scriptures. It prefers 
those which have been received by all the Catholic churches, 
to those which some do not receive. And respecting those 
not received by all, it prefers those received by the greatest 
number of churches, and churches of the greatest aiUltoriUj^ to 
those admitted by fewer churches, and of less authority." 

Questions concerning the authenticity of books were oc- 
casionally brought before councils. A Council at Laodicea, 
in three hundred sixty, forbade the reading of uncanonical 
books, and gave a list of those which were canonical ; from 
which the Apocalypse of John, and the books of the Old 
Testament, which we call Apocryphal, were excluded. 
But a Council convened at Hippo, in three hundred ninety- 
three, accepted Ecclesiastes, The Wisdom of Solomon, 
Tobit, Judith, and the two books of Maccabees, as canonical. 

As the New Testament was written in Greek, there was 
little difficulty in transmitting it perfectly to posterity. 
The structure of the language did not render it so liable 
to mistakes, as was the Hebrew; and its phraseology 
could be easily explained by comparison with cotemporary 
literature. The errors which have crept in do not in the 
least affect the spirit and moral teaching of the Gospel ; 
and, therefore, are of little consequence. Scholars who 
have examined critically, find that they arise principally 
from inserting into the text explanatory notes, originally 
written on the margin, by transcribers. 

The Bible was divided into the Old and New Testament, 
because that word means Covenant. The old books were 
regarded as God's covenant with the Jews, and the new as 
his covenant with the human race. Both were received 
by Christians as of equal authority. Origen says : " That 
the Logos wishes us to be wise may be shown from the 
ancient and Jewish writings, which we use, and which are 
believed by the church to be no less divine than those 
written after the time of Jesus." This joining of the old 
with the new was inevitable, according to the laws of 
human nature ; but if it had some good effects, it was also 


productive of evil. The Old Testament contained much 
that was vastly superior to anything the barbarian nations 
had been accustomed to receive in the form of religion ; 
such as the thoughtful kindness to the poor everywhere 
enjoined, and the omnipresent guardianship of One In- 
visible God, in whose sight the heavens themselves were 
not pure. But on the other hand, the equal acceptance of 
the Old Testament, as a rule of life, and combining them 
both together in the instruction of the people, greatly im- 
peded the humanizing influence of the New Testament. 
Moses commanded men to put out eyes, and knock out 
teeth, in retaliation for similar injuries; but Christ said: 
"Bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate 
you." Thus the two furnished equal authority for the 
good and the evil in man's nature. Intolerance, vengeance, 
and cruelty, rebuked by the New Testament, found plausi- 
ble examples and excuses in the Old. This incongruity 
was felt by some, even in the first centuries, as is very 
plainly manifested by Gnostic writers. A Gothic Bishop, 
when he translated the Old Testament, omitted the Books 
of Kings, saying he feared they would increase the love 
of fighting, to which the Goths were already too much 

If we strive to divest ourselves of the habitual predilec- 
tion for Christianity, which education imparts to us, and 
endeavour to approach the Gospels in the same spirit that 
we should examine the Sacred Books of Hinclostan or 
Persia, it appears to me that even in that state of mind, we 
cannot fail to be struck with their great superiority over 
all the other religious teaching, which God, by his various 
messengers, has given to mankind. There are variations 
in the statements, because they were formed of recollections 
which had been often and reverently repeated by the 
Apostles to mixed audiences, long before they were re- 
corded. Some would naturally give more prominence to 
particular reminiscences than to others; especially as they 
were written at different times, in different places, and in- 
tentionally adapted to the class of people for whom they 


were prepared. But the character of Jesus is shown in 
the same heavenly light by all ; gentle, benevolent, self- 
denying, forgiving, not satisfied with forms, but seeking 
for the spirit within them, indignant only toward hypoc- 
risy and oppression, full of reverence for God, and love for 
man. We feel, in reading the record of his words and 
actions, that he was indeed a son of God ; and that the 
picture must be a photograph portrait of a living original, 
made by the sunlight of truth ; since the imagination of 
man has never risen to so high a conception of holiness and. 

If we turn from internal evidence to the external, we 
find it in the remarkable simplicity of these books. There 
is no attempt to conceal disparaging circumstances. It is 
frankly told that the family and townspeople of Jesus did 
not believe in his divine mission ; that when a voice from 
heaven "glorified his name," the people, who stood by, 
"said it thundered;" that some of his disciples were am- 
bitious to have high offices of honour in his earthly king- 
dom; that one of them betrayed him unto death, for a 
reward in money ; that they all deserted him in his hour 
of danger; that Peter, in care for his own safety, thrice re- 
peated a falsehood, swore to it, and then wept bitterly for 
what he had done ; that after the resurrection of Jesus, 
when his disciples saw him, " they worshipped him, but 
some doubted." There is an artlessness in all this, which 
appeals strongly to the candid mind. Judging of these 
biographies merely as we would judge of any other human 
testimony, it would lead us to conclude that the writers 
were aiming to record things honestly, just as they ap- 
peared to their own minds. 

As I have given samples of the best and of the most 
objectionable in the Sacred Books of other religions, I will 
also insert brief specimens from the Christian Scriptures : 

" Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, 
and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 
M This is the first and great commandment. 


"And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself. 

" On these two commandments hang all the law and the 

" Blessed are the poor in spirit : for their's is the king- 
dom of heaven. 

" Blessed are they that mourn : for they shall be com- 

"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the 

"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after 
righteousness : for they shall be filled. 

"Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 

" Blessed are the pure in heart : for they shall see God. 

" Blessed are the peacemakers : for they shall be called 
the children of God. 

"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteous- 
ness' sake : for their's is the kingdom of heaven. 

" Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and perse- 
cute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you false- 
ly, for my sake. 

"Bejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your re- 
ward in heaven : for so persecuted they the prophets which 
were before you." — Gospel by Matthew. 

"And they brought young children to him, that he 
should touch them : and his disciples rebuked those that 
brought them. 

"But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, 
and said unto them, Suffer little children to come unto 
me, and forbid them not ; for of such is the kingdom of 

"Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive 
the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter 

"And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon 
them, and blessed them." — Gospel by Mark. 
Vol. III.— 27* 


"I say unto you there is joy in the presence of the 
angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. 

"A certain man had two sons : 

"And the younger of them said to his father, Father, 
give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he 
divided unto them his living. 

"And not many days after, the younger son gathered all 
together, and took his journey into a far country, and there 
wasted his substance with riotous living. 

"And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine 
in that land ; and he began to be in want. 

"And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that 
country ; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 

"And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks 
that the swine did eat : and no man gave unto him. 

"And when he came to himself, he said, How many 
hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to 
spare, and I perish with hunger ! 

"I will arise, and go to my father, and will say unto 
him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before 

"And am no more worthy to be called thy son : make 
me as one of thy hired servants. 

"And he arose, and came to his father: But when he 
was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had com- 
passion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 

"And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned 
against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy 
to be called thy son. 

"But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the 
best robe, and put it on him ; and put a ring on his hand, 
and shoes on his feet. 

"And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it ; and let us 
eat and be merry : 

"For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was 
lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. 

" Now his elder son was in the field : and as he came 
and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing: 


"And he called one of the servants, and asked what 
these things meant. 

"And he said unto him, Thy brother is come ; and thy 
father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received 
him safe and sound. 

"And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore 
came his father out, and entreated him. 

"And he, answering, said to his father, Lo, these many 
years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy 
commandment : and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that 
I might make merry with my friends : 

"But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath de- 
voured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the 
fatted calf. 

"And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and 
all that I have is thine. 

" It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad : 
for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again ; and was 
lost, and is found." — Gospel by Luke? 

" Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, 
and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a 
tinkling cymbal. 

"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand 
all mysteries, and all knowledge ; and though I have all 
faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not 
charity, I am nothing. 

"And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and 
though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, 
it profiteth me nothing. 

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth 
not ; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. 

" Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, 
is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil ; 

"Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 

"Beareth all things, belie veth all things, hopeth all 
things, endureth all things. 

" Charity never faileth."— Paul to the Corinthians. 


"And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse ; 
and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, 
and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 

" His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on bis head were 
many crowns ; and he had a name written, that no man 
knew but he himself. 

"And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood : 
and his name is called The Word of God. 

"And the armies which were in heaven followed him 
upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 

"And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with 
it he should smite the nations : and he shall rule them with 
a rod of iron ; and he treadeth the wine-press of the fierce- 
ness and wrath of Almighty God. 

"And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name 

"And I saw an angel standing in the sun ; and he cried 
with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the 
midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together 
unto the supper of the great God ; 

" That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of 
captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of 
horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all 
men, both free and bond, both small and great. 

"And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and 
their armies, gathered together to make war against him 
that sat on the horse, and against his army. 

"And the beast was taken, and with him the false pro- 
phet that wrought miracles before him, with which he 
deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, 
*nd them that worshipped his image. These both were 
cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 

"And the remnant were slain with the sword of him 
that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his 
mouth, and all the fowls were filled with their flesh." — 
Revelation of St. John the Divine. 

The reverence paid to the Bible, after the church had 


decided of what books it ought to be composed, partook 
of the same external character as other tendencies of the 
time. While the most palpable violations of its prevailing 
spirit were sanctioned, it was heresy to doubt that every 
book, nay every single word, was directly inspired by the 
Holy Spirit, and was therefore a rule for life, and a stan- 
dard in matters of science, as well as of faith. Hebrews 
and Buddhists were accustomed to wear scraps of their 
Sacred Books for amulets; and it was common for the 
Christian populace to wear portions of the Gospels about 
their necks, supposing they would have efficacy, similar to 
the cross and the eucharist, to protect them from Evil 
Spirits, from diseases, and all manner of disasters. 

Very few copies of the Bible, made before printing was 
invented, are now in existence. Butler, a learned and 
candid writer, belonging to the Catholic church, wrote 
a work in the nineteenth century, called Horse Biblicse, 
[Bible Hours.] He therein says : " The New Testament 
was probably all written in Greek, except the Gospel of 
Matthew, and Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews." "There 
are not known to be in existence, at present, any original 
manuscript in the autographs of the authors ; and there is 
no evidence that any of those autographs existed in the 
third century." " Yery few of the old manuscript copies 
of the entire New Testament remain. Of those that have 
been discovered, the greater part contain the Gospels only. 
Very few have the Apocalypse. In the oldest specimens, 
several leaves are wanting, sometimes replaced in writing 
of much later date. All the manuscripts have obliterations 
and corrections ; some made by the writer himself, others 
by persons of a subsequent time." The Alexandrian copy, 
said to have been brought from Egypt, is preserved in the 
British Museum. It is written on parchment, in Greek, 
and contains the Old Testament, in the Septuagint form, 
most of the New Testament, and the Epistles of Clement, 
Bishop of Rome, to the Corinthian church. Some date it 
from the close of the fourth century, others not till the 
latter half of the sixth. Some suppose that the most an- 



cient manuscript of the New Testament now existing is 
preserved at Cambridge University in England. It con- 
tains the Four Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles, in 
Greek and Latin. The parchment is much torn and muti- 
lated, and ten leaves are supplied by a later transcriber. 
Some say it was written in the second century, others in 
the fifth. Another copy, supposed to have been written 
in the fifth century, is preserved in the Vatican Library,, 
at Koine. It originally contained the whole Bible in 


The apocryphal Gospels and Epistles in, circulation in 
the first centuries were numerous. Many of them were 
doubtless written by Gnostics ; for it was their belief that 
any person endowed with the Gnosis was as perfect a 
medium of Divine truth as the Apostles themselves ; and 
some considered themselves even more completely en- 
lightened. There was the Gospel of Cerinthus ; the Gos- 
pel according to the Twelve Apostles; the Gospel to the 
Egyptians ; the Gospel of the Birth of Mary ; Protevan- 
gelion, or First Gospel of the Birth of Christ, ascribed to 
James, "the Lord's brother;" the Gospel of the Infancy 
of Jesus, ascribed to the Apostle Thomas ; the Gospel of 
Nicodemus, sometimes called the Acts of Pontius Pilate ; 
the Acts of Paul and Thekla ; the Book of Hermas, the 
Shepherd ; the Doctrines of the Apostles ; the Apocalypse 
of Peter ; the Ascent of Isaiah ; the Epistle of Barnabas ; 
the Clementine Homilies ; and many others. According 
to Origen, some classed the Ebionite Gospel of Matthew 
among them. Speaking of spurious books, he says: 
" There are some who place among them the Gospel ac- 
cording to the Hebrews; a volume with which Hebrew 
Christians are especially pleased." 

Epiphanius supposed that Luke, in the introduction to 
his Gospel, alluded to the Gospel of Cerinthus; and Je- 
rome conjectured the same concerning the Gospel of the 
Egyptians - t suppositions which indicate the great antiquity 


of those books. About the end of the second century, 
when Gnostic sects were numerous, the fabrication of new 
Gospels, and alterations of the old, prevailed to a great 
extent ; and it was a very common practice to write under 
the name of some Apostle, or other person eminent for 
holiness; by which means an extensive circulation was 
obtained, and responsibility, which might sometimes have 
proved dangerous, was avoided. It was not often easy 
to discover whence or how these manuscripts came into 
circulation. The early Fathers found them in existence, 
and revered by the people, and being exceedingly credu- 
lous, they sometimes received and quoted, without due 
examination, whatever tended to glorify Christ, or his 

The Gospel of the Birth of Mary is among the works 
preserved in Jerome's writings. It is said that some ob- 
scure sects, in the first centuries, believed it was written 
by Matthew. This Gospel declares that Mary was of the 
royal lineage of David. It states that an angel appeared 
to Joachim, her father, and to her mother Anna, and fore- 
told to them the birth of a wonderful daughter. The Jews 
never had the custom of consecrating virgins to the tem- 
ple, as was the case in many other countries. But the 
author of this Gospel states that the angel commanded 
them to carry their child to the temple, to be brought up 
there, devoted to the Lord, and carefully kept from all 
communication with the common people, that her character 
might be above all possibility of suspicion. The angelic 
vision was obeyed, and Mary was placed in the temple, as 
soon as she was weaned. There she had daily conversa- 
tions with angels, and was so familiar with their glorious 
appearance, that she was never surprised to see her room 
suddenly filled with celestial light. When she was four- 
teen years old, a voice from the Mercy Seat ordered the 
High Priest to summon all the unmarried men of the line- 
age of David, to choose from among them a husband to the 
Virgin, by means of the prophecy of Isaiah : " There shall 
come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a flower 


.shall spring out of its root." The Iligh Priest therefore 
ordered them all to bring rods, resolving to bestow Mary 
on him whose rod blossomed when laid upon the altar. 
Joseph came among the rest ; but being a very old man, 
he lingered behind the others, not wishing to enter into 
competition for the prize ; whereupon, a dove alighted on 
his rod, and thus signally pointed him out, as the chosen 
of heaven. 

In the Gospel of the Birth of Christ, which assumed to 
be written by the Apostle James the Less, Joseph is repre- 
sented as reluctant to marry Mary, after he had been de- 
signated by the miracle of the dove and rod, saying : " I 
am an old man, and have children ; but she is young, and 
I fear lest I should appear ridiculous in Israel." But the 
High Priest said to him : "Joseph, thou art the person 
chosen to take the Virgin of the Lord, to keep her for 
him;" and he reminded him that the judgments of the 
Lord descended upon those who refused to obey him. 
Joseph being afraid, took her home, and bidding her fare- 
well, said: U I will leave thee in my house ; but I must go 
and mind my trade of building." In this book it is stated 
that Jesus was born in a cave, three miles from Bethlehem, 
when Joseph was on his way to Jerusalem to be taxed. 
Tertullian and Origen probably borrowed the idea from 
this source ; for they both speak of his having been born 
in a cave. The visit of the Wise Men from the East is 
described in this book. When Herod heard of them he 
inquired what sign they had seen, that brought them to 
Bethlehem. They answered : " We saw an extraordinary 
large star, shining among the stars of heaven ; and it so 
outshone all the other stars, that they became invisible. 
We knew thereby that a great king was born in Israel ; 
and therefore we are come to worship him." In conse- 
quence of this information, Herod ordered all the young 
children in and about Bethlehem to be slaughtered. This 
Gospel is described as written in Hebrew, and signed, H I, 
James, wrote this at Jerusalem." It was brought from the 
Levant, translated into Latin, and published in Switzer- 


land, in 1552. It is said to have been publicly read in 
some of the Eastern churches. 

The Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus, written under the 
name of the Apostle Thomas, contains an accumulation of 
miracles. It declares that the cave where Jesus was born 
was filled with light at the moment of his birth; "greater 
than the light of lamps and candles, and greater than the 
light of the sun itself." The divine infant " spake from 
his cradle, and said to his mother Mary, ' I am Jesus, the 
Son of God; that Word, which thou didst bring forth, 
according to the declaration of the angel Gabriel ; and my 
Father hath sent me for the salvation of the world.' " It 
is stated that when Joseph and Mary arrived in Egypt 
with their child, the great idol in the temple cried out : 
" • The unknown God hath come hither, who is truly God ; 
nor is there any one beside him, who is worthy of divine 
worship.' At the same instant, the idol fell down ; and at 
his fall, all the inhabitants of Egypt ran together." " The 
priest, who ministered to the idol, had a son three years 
old, who was possessed with a great multitude of devils. 
Going to the inn, he found Joseph and Mary. And when 
the Lady Mary had washed the swaddling* clothes of the 
Lord Christ, and hung them out to dry upon a post, the 
boy possessed with the devil, took down one of them, and 
put it upon his head. And presently the devils began to 
come out of his mouth, and fly away in the shape of crows 
and serpents. From that time, the boy was healed by the 
power of the Lord Christ." When his father inquired 
concerning the matter, he replied : " ' I went to the inn, and 
found there a very handsome woman, with a boy, whose 
swaddling-clothes she washed and hung on a post. I put 
one of them on my head, and immediately the devils fled 
away.' The father, exceedingly rejoiced, said, • My son, 
perhaps this boy is the Son of the living God, who made 
the heavens and the earth ; for as soon as he came among 
us, the idol was broken, and all the gods fell down.' " 
"Jesus was playing with other Hebrew boys, by a running 
stream ; and he took soft clay from the banks, and formed 
Vol, III— 28 


of it twelve sparrows. A certain Jew, seeing what he was 
doing, went to his father Joseph, and said : ' Thy boy is 
playing by the river-side, and profaneth the Sabbath.' 
Then Joseph called to him and said : ' Why doest thou 
that which it is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day ?' 
Then Jesus, clapping the palms of his hands together, said 
to the sparrows : ' Fly away ! and while ye live, remember 
me.' So the sparrows flew away with noise. And the 
Jews were astonished, and went and told their chief per- 
sons what a strange miracle they had seen wrought by 
Jesus." "A certain schoolmaster, named Zaccheus, said to 
Joseph, ' Thou hast a wise child. Send him to me, that 
he may learn to read.' When he sat down to teach Jesus 
the alphabet, he began with the first letter, Aleph ; but 
Jesus pronounced the second, and the third, and said over 
the whole alphabet to the end. Then he opened a book, 
and taught his master the Prophets ; and Zaccheus went 
home wonderfully surprised at so strange a thing." 

This Gospel of the Infancy was much quoted in early 
times, and several of the stories it relates have ever since 
been believed by many members of the Catholic church. 
Eusebius and Athanasius both record that when Joseph 
and Mary arrived in Egypt, they took up their abode in 
Hermopolis, a city of Thebais, in which was a superb tem- 
ple of Serapis. They visited this temple, carrying with 
them the infant Jesus. What was their astonishment to 
see the great idol, and all the inferior gods, fall prostrate 
before them ! The priests fled with horror, and the whole 
city was filled with alarm. Sozomon, a Christian histo- 
rian of the fifth century, likewise relates the story. It was 
cited as a remarkable verification of Isaiah's prophecy : 
"Behold the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall 
come into Egypt, and the idols of Egypt shall be moved 
at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the 
midst of it." 

Extracts in the first volume of this work show several 
striking points of resemblance between the ancient Hindoo 
and Hebrew Sacred Records. In some cases, even names 


are synonymous; the sons of Noah, for instance. The 
names of the first man and woman are Adim and Iva, in 
Sanscrit. In these spurious Gospels of Christianity, the 
observing reader will be reminded of the stories told of 
Crishna, in Sacred Books of Hindostan, quoted in the first 
volume of this work. Sir William Jones was so much 
struck with various coincidences, that he thought the Hin- 
doos must have seen these spurious Christian Gospels, and 
copied from them. It does not seem to have occurred to 
him that the reverse might have been the case ; and that 
Egyptian Christians, being frequently in communication 
with India, were very likely to become acquainted with 
Hindoo legends. 

Many of the ancients supposed that the Book called 
The Shepherd of Hermas, was written by the Hernias 
whom Paul salutes, at the close of his Epistle to the Ro- 
mans. Others assigned a later date, and attributed it to 
the brother of Pius, Bishop of Rome, in the second cen- 
tury. It consists of three books, occupied with a succession 
of visions, intended to convey instruction to the church, 
and to impress upon the mind the superior sanctity of celi- 
bacy. The following brief sample will serve to give some 
idea of it : " Behold I saw a great beast, as it were a whale ; 
and fiery locusts came out of his mouth. The height of 
the beast was about a hundred feet. I began to weep, and 
to pray unto the Lord that he would deliver me from it. 
Then I called to mind the words I had heard : Doubt not 
Hermas! Wherefore, I delivered myself boldly unto the 
beast, which came on as if it could have devoured a city. 
I came near unto it; and the beast extended its whole 
length upon the ground, and put forth nothing but its 
tongue, nor once moved itself, till I had quite passed by. 
Now the beast had upon its head four colours ; first black, 
then blood-red, then golden, then white. After I had 
passed by it, there met me a virgin well adorned, as if she 
had just come out of her bride-chamber; all in white, 
having a veil over her face, and covered with shining hair. 
I knew by my former visions that it was The Church ; and 


thereupon I grew the more cheerful. She said : Did noth- 
ing meet you, O man ? I replied : Lady, there met me 
such a beast as seemed able to devour a whole people; 
but, by the power and mercy of God, I escaped it. She 
replied : Thou didst escape it well, because thou didst cast 
thy whole care upon God. For this cause, the Lord sent 
his angel and stopped the mouth of the beast, that he 
should not devour thee. Go,. therefore y and relate to the 
elect the great things God hath done for thee. And say 
unto them this beast is a figure of the trial about to come. 
If ye shall have prepared yourselves, if your hearts be pure 
and without spot,. }^e may escape it. Cast all your cares 
upon the Lord. He can turn away his wrath from you, 
and send you help and security. Wo to the doubtful ! to 
those who shall hear these words and despise them. It 
would be better for them that they had not been born. 
Then I asked concerning the four colours upon the head 
of the beast. She said : The black denotes the world in 
which you dwell. The fiery red denotes that this age 
must be destroyed by fire and blood. Ye are the golden 
part, who have escaped out of it. For as gold is tried by 
the fire and made profitable, in like manner are ye tried, 
who live among the men of this world. The white colour 
denotes the time of the world which is to come, in which 
the elect of God shall dwell; because the elect shall be 
pure and without spot, unto life eternal. Wherefore, do 
not thou cease to speak these things in the ears of the 
saints." Hernias teaches that the Apostles descended into 
Hades, to baptize the pious personages of the Old Testa- 
ment. He recommends frequent fasting, and adds : "Above 
all, exercise thy abstinence in this, to refrain both from 
hearing and from speaking what is wrong. Cleanse thy 
heart from ali pollution, from all revengeful feelings,, and 
from all covetousness. On the day thou fastest, content 
thyself with bread, vegetables, and water, and thank God 
for these. But reckon up what thy meal on this day 
would have cost thee, and give the amount to some widow 
or orphan, or to the poor. Happy for thee, if with thy 


children and whole household thou observest these things." 
The Epistle which went under the name of Barnabas, 
companion of Paul, was known to the Alexandrian church 
in the second century. It contains singular specimens of 
the forced, allegorical mode of interpretation, which the 
Christian Fathers seem to have learned from Jewish Kab- 
bins. It is therein stated that the Hebrew priests were 
ordered not to wash with vinegar the inwards of the goat 
offered in expiation for the sins of the people, in order to 
foreshadow that when Christ should offer his flesh "for the 
sins of a new people," they would give him vinegar to 
drink, mixed with gall. It was ordained by Moses, as a 
process of purification, that a red heifer should be burned ; 
that a piece of scarlet wool and hyssop should be tied on a 
stick and. dipped in the ashes, to sprinkle the people. The 
author of this Epistle says : " That heifer was Jesus Christ. 
And why was the wool put upon a stick f Because the 
kingdom of Jesus was founded upon the cross; and there- 
fore they that put their trust in him shall live forever." 
According to the Greek method of notation the letter T 
signified three hundred, the letter I ten, and H eight ; of 
which fact the following use is made in the Epistle of Bar- 
nabas : "Abraham circumcised three hundred and eighteen 
men of his house. What, therefore, was the mystery that 
was made known to him? The I H, which make eighteen, 
denote Jesus. And because the cross was that by which 
we were to find grace, he adds T, which is three hundred, 
and forms the figure of the cross. Wherefore, by three 
hundred and eighteen he signified Jesus and his cross." 
The ancient Egyptian cross was in the form of T. He 
adds : " He who has put the engrafted gift of his doctrine 
within us, knows that I never taught to any one a more 
certain truth ; but I trust that ye are worthy of it." Again 
he says : " Why did Moses say, Ye shall not eat of the 
swine ? He meant thou shalt not join thyself to such per- 
sons as are like unto swine ; who while they live in plea- 
sure forget their God." "He says also, Thou shalt not eat 
the eagl'e, nor the hawk, nor the kite, nor the crow ; that 
Vol. III.— 28* 


is, thou slialt not keep company with such kind of men as 
know not how to get themselves food by their labour, but 
injuriously ravish away the things of others.' 7 "Neither 
shalt thou eat of the hyena; that is, Be not an adulterer, 
nor a corrupter of others. And wherefore so? Because 
that creature every year changes its kind, and is sometimes 
male and sometimes female.' 7 " Why might they eat such 
animals as clave the hoof? Because the righteous liveth 
in this present world, but his expectation is fixed upon the 
other. Behold, brethren, how admirably Moses commanded 
these things. Speaking as concerning meats, be deliv- 
ered great precepts to them in the spiritual signification 
of those commands. They,, according to the desires of the 
flesh, understood him as if he had only meant it of meats. 
But the Lord has circumcised our ears and our hearts, that 
we might know these things.' 7 This Epistle thus exhorts 
Christians to be in readiness for the second coming of 
Christ: "Be ye taught of God; seeking what it is the 
Lord requires of you, and doing it ; that ye may be saved 
in the day of judgment. For the day is at hand in which 
all things shall be destroyed, together with the Wicked 

The book called the Ascent of Isaiah was evidently 
written by some one imbued with Gnostic tendencies. It 
describes the progressive descent of Christ from his radiant 
home above, through " the seven heavenly spheres, 77 gradu- 
ally changing his form, during the journey, into the likeness 
of the inhabitants of eaeh sphere ; so that his superiority 
was always veiled. At last, he arrived on earth, and as- 
sumed the appearance of a mortal man. 

A remarkable book, called the Clementine Homilies, 
was in general circulation, and had great celebrity. It 
professed to be written by Clement, Bishop of Rome, in 
the first century, and to give an account of his conversion, 
and of his travels with the Apostle Peter. But the name 
of Clement was assumed, on account of its authority with 
the church. Scholars say it can be clearly proved to have 
been written about a century after his death. At that 


period, Gentile Christians and Judaizing Christians were in 
opposition to each other; Gnostics were attacking Juda- 
ism ; and Christians were contending with Gnostics. The 
book appears to have been written by some one who had 
combined Jewish, Gnostic, and Christian ideas, and who 
wished to present a common ground of conciliation to the 
conflicting parties. He adopts the idea of the Cabalists 
that the Wisdom of God was feminine. He called her by 
the Greek name Sophia, and said : " God himself rejoices 
in her alliance." His ideas concerning the First Adam 
and the Second Adam were also very similar to those en- 
tertained by many Jews. He describes Adam Kadman, 
the First Adam, as "Lord of All, existing before the 
worlds;" first manifested on earth in the form of Adam, 
afterward as Enoch, Abraham, and Moses. Lastly he took 
the form of Jesus, was crucified, and ascended to the 
heaven whence he came. "Changing the forms of his 
appearance, he passed through the course of ages, until 
reaching his own times, he was, by God's grace, anointed 
in recompense for his toils, and blessed with eternal re- 
pose." " The first prophet was Adam ; in whom, if in any 
one, formed as he was immediately by the creative hand 
of God, that which is the immediate efflux of the Divine 
Spirit dwelt." " God, the alone good, bestowed every 
thing on the man created after his own image. Full of 
the divinity of his Creator, and as a true prophet, knowing 
all things, he revealed to his children an eternal Law, 
which has neither been destroyed by wars, nor corrupted 
by godless power, nor hidden in any particular place, but 
can be read of all men. The appearance neither of Moses 
nor of Jesus would have been necessary, if men had been 
willing of themselves, to come to a knowledge of what is 
right. But since this original revelation, which should 
have been transmitted by the living word, from generation 
to generation, was corrupted, over and over, by impure 
additions, proceeding from an Evil Principle, new revela- 
tions were requisite to counteract these corruptions, and 
restore that original revelation. And it was always that 


Primal Spir't of Humanity, the Spirit of God in Adam, 
which reappeared, in manifold forms, and under various 
names." Supposing the Law of Moses to be a new revela- 
tion, to restore the primitive truths taught by Adam, this 
author exalted the Pentateuch above other books of the 
Hebrew Scriptures ; but he maintained that it had been 
written many times over, and that many foreign elements 
had been introduced into it. The Father of Mankind 
appeared as Moses, to trust the Jews with the preservation 
of primal truths. He appeared as Jesus, for the especial 
purpose of delivering to his other children, the Gentiles, 
that pure primitive religion, which had been constantly 
handed down by a consecrated few among the Jews. The 
author of the Homilies says: "Jesus loved men, as none 
but the Father of the Human Race could love his own 
children. His greatest sorrow was that he must be striven 
against by those, in their ignorance, for whom he strove as 
his children. He loved them, though they hated him ; he 
wept over the disobedient, he blessed them that blasphemed 
him, he prayed for his enemies ; and these things he not 
only did himself, as a father, but also taught his disciples 
to pursue the same course of conduct toward men, as their 
brethren." " The same primitive religion is to be found 
in the pure doctrine of Moses and of Christ. He who pos- 
sesses the former may dispense with the latter; and he 
who possesses the latter may dispense with the former; 
provided the Jew does not blaspheme Christ, whom he 
knows not, nor the Christian blaspheme Moses, whom he 
knows not. But he who is accounted worthy of attaining 
to the knowledge of both, to find in the doctrine announced 
by both but one and the same truth, is to be esteemed a 
man rich in God ; one who has found in the old that which 
has become new, and in the new that which is old. The 
Jew and the Christian owe it entirely to the grace of God, 
that they have been led to a knowledge of the Divine will, 
by these revelations of the Primal Man, repeated under 
different forms, one by Moses, another by Christ." " He 
who is under no necessity of seeking for truth, who has no 


doubts, who knows the truth, by means of a higher Spirit, 
dwelling within himself, which is superior to all uncer- 
tainty, he alone obtains knowledge of the truth, and can 
reveal it unto others." 

The reverence for apostolic traditions led to a collection 
of ecclesiastical laws, called Apostolical Constitutions and 
Apostolical Canons. These also were ascribed to Clement 
of Home, whose acquaintance with Peter would enable 
him to receive them from high authority. JSTeander sup- 
poses them to have been formed gradually, out of different 
fragments, from the close of the second into the fourth 

There was an ancient tradition that before the Apostles 
dispersed to proclaim Christ in all lands, they drew up a 
Confession of Faith, to which each one contributed an arti- 
cle. This has ever since been known under the name of 
the Apostles' Creed. In the early times, it was devoutly 
believed to be the work of their own hands ; but this idea 
has long since been acknowledged to be without founda- 
tion. It cannot be traced beyond the fourth century, and 
the author is unknown. Before A. D. 600 it existed in the 
following form : "I believe in God the Father Almighty ; 
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born 
of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary ; was crucified 
under Pontius Pilate, and was buried ; and the third day, 
he rose again from the dead, ascended into heaven, sitteth 
on the right hand of the Father ; whence he shall come to 
judge the quick and the dead ; and in the Holy Ghost ; 
the Holy Church ; the remission of sins ; and the resurrec- 
tion of the flesh. Amen." It was afterward altered, so as 
to read: "Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of 
the Yirgin Mary ;" " I believe in the Holy Catholic church, 
and the communion ofsai?its." It was also added, that after 
Christ " was crucified, dead and buried, he descended into 

Several of the spurious Gospels and Epistles were pub- 
licly read in the churches, and were often quoted by the 
Fathers, in a manner that implies they regarded them as 


of equal authority with canonical Scripture. The great 
number of church pictures illustrating those Gospels, and 
still revered in all Catholic countries, proves that their 
authority was very extensive. Perhaps none of the apoc- 
ryphal books were held in higher estimation, in the first cen- 
turies, than the Shepherd of Hernias. Irenasus cites it as 
11 the Scripture." Clement of Alexandria says : " The book 
of the Shepherd is disputed by some ; on whose account it is 
not placed among the acknowledged books. But by others 
it is judged most necessary. For which reason, it is now 
publicly read in the churches, and I have understood that 
some of the most ancient writers used it." Origen sa} 7 s : 
" I think Hermas was the author of that book called the 
Shepherd. It seems to me a very useful writing, and, as I 
think, is divinely inspired. Tt is admitted into the church, 
but not acknowledged by all to be divine." Eusebius and 
Jerome say it was publicly read in the churches, though 
not esteemed canonical. Jerome praised it in his cata- 
logue, but afterward pronounced it apocryphal and foolish. 
Eufinus expressly styles it " a book of the New Testament." 
The Epistle of Barnabas was also much quoted by the 
Fathers; and some of them considered it genuine. Cle- 
ment of Alexandria speaks of it as " read in most of the 
churches." Apparently it must have been extant in Jus- 
tin Martyr's time ; for it contains his statement that the 
emacy of Moses' prayer was owing to his arms being ex- 
tended in the form of a cross ; and both of them speak of 
the cross as allegorically signified by every stick, tree, and 
bit of wood in the Old Testament. 


In some countries, Christianity began to spread by 
means of Christian captives taken in war, who became 
missionaries among their conquerors; and when a king, 
queen, or other influential person, became a proselyte, the 
multitude followed their lead. The baptism of barbarians 
by hundreds and thousands, by no means implies that they 


understood the spirit of Christianity, or imbibed its princi- 
ples. The crowd, as usual, followed the example of the 
powerful ; and those who led them were often converted 
by some dream, or omen, the cure of a disease, or the for- 
tunate event of a prayer or a vow. Miracles constantly 
wrought at the tomb of St. Martin, Bishop of Tours, were 
a fruitful source of additions to the church. The people 
of Gallicia, and the Suevic prince in Spain were converted 
by them. There were baptismal fonts near the Guadal- 
quiver, which were miraculously replenished every year, 
on the evening before Easter. These caused many con- 

The Goths were early converts to Christianity. "When 
they made their first inroads into the Roman empire, they 
carried off many Christians among their captives ; and the 
conquered gained spiritual ascendancy over the rude minds 
of their conquerors. As early as the time of Constantine, 
a Gothic bishop was sent as delegate to the Council at 
Nice. Bishops from those countries afterward visited 
Constantinople, at a time when Arianism was the reli- 
gion of the emperor, and of nearly all the people in 
that city. Thus it happened that the Goths received 
Christianity in the Arian form, and so it was trans- 
mitted to the different branches of their nation. These 
Christianized barbarians were as fierce in their zeal to 
convert Catholics, as the Catholics had been to convert 
Arians. They fined, banished, and persecuted them in 
various and cruel forms. Long after Arianism was van- 
quished in other parts of the Christianized world, it re- 
mained in full force among various Gothic tribes; and 
this difference was the cause of perpetual and rancorous 
hostility. But finally, Goths gave in to the argument that 
all other nations had yielded to Catholic supremacy, and 
that they alone disturbed the unity of the church. One of 
their kings, who had consented to be baptized, was not 
deterred by being told that all his Pagan ancestors were 
undoubtedly in hell; but when the Catholic missionary 
assured him that all his Arian relatives must be damned 


also, he drew back his foot after lie had placed it in the 

AY hen Clovis, king of the Franks, and founder of the 
FYencb monarchy, first heard an account of the death of 
Christ, he exclaimed: "If I had been there, at the head 
of my valiant Franks, I would have revenged him!" He 
married Clotilda, a princess of Burgundy, who was a de- 
vout Catholic. For some time, he resisted her efforts to 
convert him. He allowed their first child to be baptized ; 
but as the babe died soon after, he repented the concession 
he had made, and said to his wife : " If he had been con- 
secrated in the name of my Gods, he would not have died ; 
but being baptized in the name of your God, he could not 
live." Clotilda was not discouraged by this unlucky event. 
She availed herself of every opportunity to induce him to 
relinquish the worship of idols. One day, when he was 
going to battle, she said to him: "My lord, to insure vic- 
tory, you must invoke the God of the Christians. He is 
sole Ruler of the Universe, and he is styled the God of 
Armies. If you address yourself to him with confidence, 
nothing can resist you. Though your enemies were a 
hundred against one, you would be sure to triumph over 
them." The king came very near being defeated. When 
he saw his cavalry flying in all directions, he spread out 
his arms toward heaven, and exclaimed: "Oh Christ, whom 
Clotilda invokes as Son of the Living God, I implore thy 
assistance ! I have called upon my gods, and I find they 
have no power. Deliver me from my enemies, and I will 
be baptized in thy name !" His troops rallied, fought des- 
perately, and finally gained the victory. He was solemnly 
baptized at Rheims, on the twenty-fifth of December, A. D. 
496. According to the wish of the queen, it was made an 
occasion of great pomp. There was a procession of bishops 
and priests, with a long train of monks, carrying crosses, 
and singing the liturgy. Immediately after baptism, he 
was anointed, according to the mode of inaugurating Chris- 
tian kings. It is recorded that the Holy Ghost, in the 
form of a white dove, descended from heaven with a vial 


of celestial oil for the occasion. His sister, and three 
thousand of his court and army, were baptized the same 
day. He soon after caused a whole line of princes to be 
assassinated, to make way for his ambition. But he spared 
no pains to secure the good-will of the clergy; and the 
Patriarch of Eome conferred on him the title of Most 
Christian Majesty, which the French kings have ever since 

The Burgundians and the Yisigoths, who had been con- 
verted to Christianity by Arian bishops, had taken pos- 
session of some provinces in Gaul. Clovis said to his 
assembled warriors : "It grieves me to see the fairest por- 
tions of Gaul possessed by Arians. Let us march against 
them ; and having vanquished the heretics, by God's aid, 
we will divide their fertile provinces among us." Clotilda 
approved of this resolution ; and begged her husband to 
remember that donations for pious purposes would pro- 
pitiate the Deity, secure the powerful prayers of his faith- 
ful servants the bishops, and bring down a blessing from 
heaven on his pious undertaking. Her words pleased the 
king, and he replied : " Wherever my battle-axe shall fall, 
there will I erect a church, and dedicate it to the Holy 
Apostles." And he hurled the axe from him with a strong 
arm. On his march to invade the Arians, he turned aside 
to visit the sepulchre of Martin of Tours. They were per- 
forming religious ceremonies in St. Martin's church, and 
Clovis charged his messenger to take particular notice 
what was chanted at the moment they entered. The 
words were of good omen ; but to make success still more 
secure he offered prayers and costly oblations at the tomb. 
Among other things, he made a present of his favourite 
war-horse. He afterward wished to redeem the valuable 
animal with one hundred pieces of gold ; but the miracu- 
lous power of the saint kept the horse enchanted in the 
stable, till he offered six hundred pieces. 

Clotilda survived her warlike and victorious husband ; 
and after her death, she was canonized by the church. 
She seems to have had a degree of worldly ambition rather 
Vol. III.— 29 p 


inconsistent with saintly character. LTer younger sons 
made war upon their eldest brother, and took his children 
captive. They so far respected the feelings of their aged 
mother, as to offer to spare her grandsons, provided they 
were devoted to monastic life. She passionately replied : 
"Better my descendants should be dead, than become 
shaven monks !" Two of the princes were stabbed. The 
third made his escape to a monastery, and afterward be- 
came the famous Saint Cloud. 

Gaul, conquered by the orthodox Clovis, submitted to 
the Catholics. Spain, which had for awhile been Arian, 
under Gothic conquerors, was restored to the Catholic 
church by voluntary conversion of the Visigoths, under 
King Recared ; who forthwith proceeded to persecute the 
Arians, and burn their books, as his predecessor had done 
toward the Catholics. He sent ambassadors to Gregory 
the Great, with costly offerings of gold and gems. The 
Pope received them graciously, and in return for their rich 
presents, conferred on Recared the title of Catholic Majesty, 
and sent him a small piece of the True Cross, a few hairs 
from the head of John the Baptist, and a key made of iron 
filings from the chain of St. Peter. The Lombards now 
remained the only Arian nation ; but their queen was in- 
duced to aid Catholic missionaries to convert the people. 
Thus, after three hundred years of incessant wrangling, of 
mutual murders, and burning of each other's books and 
churches, the metaphysical controversy concerning the 
Trinity was hushed, and the unity of the Catholic church 
at last established. 

In order to introduce Christianity into Scandinavian 
countries, missionaries deemed it necessary to make many 
concessions to their fierce converts. To eat horse-flesh in 
honour of Odin, and take as many wives as they chose, 
were their principal stipulations. Plurality of wives was 
granted, as a politic compromise ; but horse-flesh was inter- 
dicted, on account of its association with idolatry. After 
they consented to be baptized, they had great carousals in 
honour of Christ, and the Apostles, and the martyrs, and 


all the saints. On these occasions, they drank horns full 
of strong liquor, as they had been accustomed to do in 
honour of their old gods ; until at last, the Christian fes- 
tivals became such scenes of tumultuous revelry, that the 
better sort of men avoided them. So superficial was their 
conversion, that the whole mass might have been easily 
turned back had any unlucky accident happened before 
there was time for the new worship to become fixed 
as a habit. ' While Catholic missionaries were holding 
conference with priests of Odin assembled in Iceland, a 
messenger brought tidings that a volcanic eruption had 
done great damage in a neighbouring district. The Ice- 
landic priests at once said : " Odin has done this, to mani- 
fest his displeasure that there are men among us who 
propose to abandon his worship." A Christian convert 
reminded them that the soil on which they were then 
standing was formed of lava, from an eruption centuries 
ago. He inquired what it was that offended the gods then; 
and the priests were vanquished by his sensible argument. 
When Bishop Poppo tried to introduce Christianity into 
Jutland, he convinced the people of the truth of his doc- 
trine by thrusting his hand into a red hot iron glove, and 
drawing it out uninjured. The people seeing this, rushed 
in crowds to be baptized by the worker of miracles. This 
circumstance is said to have introduced trial by ordeal into 
that country; the bishop's method of appeal to Heaven 
being considered as efficacious to ascertain the truth in 
legal disputes, as it had proved in theological. 

When Gregory the Great wished to convert the English, 
a monk named Augustin was chosen for the purpose; he 
having already attained celebrity by raising the dead, re- 
storing sight to the blind, and various other miracles. 
Accompanied by forty other monks, he went to Kent, 
where he was kindly received by Ethelbert the king, 
whose wife Bertha was a Christian. Augustin permitted 
no coercive measures to be used, but so great was the 
power of his miracles, that he is said to have baptized ten 
thousand converts in one day. His success was rewarded 


by being appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, with autho- 
rity over all the English churches. There had been con- 
verts to Christianity in Wales, as early as the second 
century, and churches were established there, which had 
never submitted to the jurisdiction of Rome, but continued 
to follow many of the old customs of the Eastern churches. 
Augustin tried to induce the bishops to unite with the 
churches he had formed in England. But they answered 
that they could not lay aside their old customs, and con- 
form to the ceremonies and institutions prescribed by 
Rome, without first obtaining the free consent of all the 
people. A synod was convened, where they agreed to 
meet Augustin. As he did not rise to receive them, or 
show them any mark of courtesy, they formed an idea that 
he was a proud ambitious man, and felt more than ever 
desirous to preserve their independence. They therefore 
declined his offers of alliance, and when he exhorted them 
to conform in the manner of observing Easter, and of ad- 
ministering baptism, they excused themselves; saying: 
" We owe no more to the Bishop of Rome than the love 
and brotherly assistance due to all who believe in Christ. 
But to our own bishop we owe obedience; and without his 
leave, we cannot alter any of the ordinances of the church." 
In consequence of this, Augustin proceeded to depose the 
bishops, without accusing them of any crime, and without 
the formality of a council. Not long afterward, twelve 
hundred Welsh monks were slaughtered, and their monas- 
tery destroyed, by the King of Northumberland; and 
suspicion rested upon Augustin as the instigator of the 
massacre. But he is described as "a most learned and 
pious man, an imitator of primitive holiness, frequent in 
watchings, fastings, prayers, and alms ; earnest in rooting 
out Paganism; diligent in building and repairing churches; 
extraordinarily famous for the working of miracles, and 
cures among the people." He always walked when he 
visited his provinces, and often travelled barefoot. The 
skin on his knees had grown hard by perpetual kneeling 
at his devotions. Yet Gregory the Great felt it necessary 


to admonish him for being unduly puffed up, with the 
honours he received. 

During the reign of Constantine, a woman named Nino, 
who had vowed herself to celibacy and prayer, fled from 
Armenia, because the Christians in that region were fierce- 
ly persecuted by the Persians, who were making a convul- 
sive effort to restore and perpetuate the worship taught by 
Zoroaster. She took refuge in Iberia, a country of Asia 
now called Georgia. The people were rude and warlike, 
and, as usual with such tribes, they had an instinctive 
reverence for whoever devoted themselves to the service 
of the Deity, under circumstances of peculiar self-denial. 
The complete seclusion, the severe fasting, and continual 
prayers of the Armenian woman inspired respect and awe. 
It happened that a child belonging to the tribe was taken 
ill; and, acting under the influence of the universal belief 
in Asia, that whoever was holy could cure diseases, they 
brought the child to Nino. She told them she was not 
acquainted with any remedy for the disease, but she would 
pray to her God for help. She did so, and the child soon 
afterward recovered. The queen was informed of this, and 
when she was afflicted with severe illness, she sent for the 
devout Armenian. Nino declined the invitation, saying, 
with becoming humility, that she was no worker of mira- 
cles. The queen then insisted upon being carried to her, 
and besought prayers for her recovery. She complied with 
this request, and the invalid was soon after restored to 
health. The king wished to send a rich present; but his 
consort assured him that the Christian woman despised all 
earthly goods; that the only thing in which they could 
please her would be to join in worshipping her God. In 
the fulness of her gratitude, and perhaps hungering and 
thirsting for better spiritual food than had yet been offered 
to her, she listened eagerly to the instructions of her pious 
physician, and became a convert. Her husband also was 
greatly impressed by the cures the stranger had performed, 
which she reverently attributed to the power of the God 
in whom she believed ; but he was held back by fear of 
Vol. 111.— 29* 


offending the old deities, and also by the danger of render- 
ing himself unpopular among his subjects, who were big 1 - 
oted worshippers of Aramazd, the Ormtutd of the ancient 
Persians. < roe day when he was wandering alone through 
a thick forest, he became enveloped in a dense fog, and was 
unable to find his way. Awe-struck by the uncertain light, 
and by the silent solitude of the place, he began to reflect 
upon what he had heard of those Superior Spirits, who 
guide the destinies of men. The thought passed through 
his mind that if he should be safely restored to his com- 
panions, he might become a worshipper of the Christian's 
Gtod, of whom his wife told such marvellous things. At 
that moment, the sun suddenly burst forth, and illumined 
the foliage with a wondrous glory. The wavering mind 
of the monarch hailed the beautiful omen. He saw in that 
golden radiance a symbol of the light of truth, dispersing 
all mists from the soul. He rejoined his companions, to 
whom he related what had happened. He sent for the 
Christian captive, and became converted by her. He be- 
gan to instruct the men among his subjects, and the queen 
the women. They sent to Eome for religious teachers, and 
were baptized. The people were at first exceedingly averse 
to a change in the national religion, but, after much oppo- 
sition, the temple of Aramazd was pulled down, and a 
Cross was raised upon its ruins. It is recorded that the 
erection of the first Christian church was attended with 
miracles. A heavy column of stone resisted all the efforts 
of the workmen to raise it. But Nino spent the night in 
praying that they might be assisted, and the next morning, 
the pillar rose of its own accord, and stood erect. The 
people, when they witnessed this, shouted in praise of the 
Christian's God, and were generally baptized. The king 
entered into alliance with Constantine the Great, who sent 
him valuable presents, and a Christian bishop. The popu- 
lar feeling toward the temple of Aramazd was transferred 
to the Cross, the possession of which soon came to be re- 
garded as the great safeguard of the nation. 

Tiridates, king of Armenia, was a bigoted worshipper 


of the old gods of his country. He put in prison one of 
his subjects who had become a Christian, and who refused 
to offer sacrifices to Anaitis, a goddess resembling the 
Yenus of the Romans, and the Astarte of the Syrians. 
Gregory the Christian languished in prison fourteen years. 
Meanwhile, the king's sister had become converted ; and 
when a terrible pestilence broke out, she ventured to advise 
that he should be released, as a means of arresting the plague. 
The king, being himself afflicted with the deadly malady, 
and greatly alarmed, accepted her counsel. He was cured 
by Gregory, and the pestilence soon after abated. Believ- 
ing this to be a sign of approval from Heaven, the monarch 
consented to be baptized ; and his example was soon after 
followed by all his nobles and the people. Priests were 
sent for from other countries ; four hundred bishops were 
consecrated, and churches erected everywhere ; though 
not without strenuous resistance. The Christian prisoner 
who had effected all this, was appointed archbishop of the 
kingdom, and became famous under the name of Gregory 
the Illuminator. The Province of Dara, considered the 
sacred region of Armenia, obstinately resisted the innova- 
tion, and fought desperately for the preservation of their 
ancient altars and temples. Every Christian church erected 
there was built under the protection of troops. The pro- 
longed contest was at last decided by a bloody battle, 
which was commemorated by the following inscription on 
a monument : 

" The leader of the warriors was Argan, 

The Chief of the Priesthood, 

Who lies here in his grave, 

And with him one thousand thirty-eight men. 

This battle was fought for the god-head of Kisane, 

And for that of Christ." 

This was the first war for the introduction of Christianity. 
But it cannot with truth be said that Christianity made its 
way by persuasion, and by appeals to the inward conscious- 
ness of men, except for the first three hundred years. 


Theodosius suppressed Pagan worship by the sword, and 
dragged the gods of antiquity at his chariot-wheels. Jus- 
tinian completed the work in the same spirit. The thou- 
sands who performed their ancient rites in secret were fer- 
reted out, and allowed no choice between baptism and 
death. The same course was pursued toward the Samari- 
tans. They resisted. Twenty thousand were slain ; 
twenty thousand sold into slavery to Persians and East 
Indians ; and the remainder saved their lives by consent- 
ing to be baptized. It has been computed that one hun- 
dred thousand Roman subjects were slaughtered in the 
course of Justinian's efforts to establish the unity of the 
Christian church. Charlemagne drove Paganism from 
Teutonic Europe at the point of his spear. In his attempts 
to force the Saxons into Christianity, which he doubtless 
did from motives of state policy, he incurred a war of 
thirty years' duration. At last, Wittikind the Great, Duke 
of Saxony, was compelled to submit. The only alterna- 
tive allowed them was death or baptism ; and he with his 
whole army submitted to the ceremony, which made them 
Christians. When the Saxons, under King Ethelwolf, 
fought with the Danes, they, in their turn, offered the 
same choice to those who were taken prisoners ; and 
Danish vikings, or pirates, were baptized by hundreds on 
the battle fields, to escape the gallows, which was ready to 
receive them. King Olaf, who was afterward canonized, 
and became the patron saint of Norway, demolished the 
temples and altars of Odin, introduced Christianity among 
his subjects by an armed force, and allowed them no alter- 
native but slaughter. 

Every one knows how the wealth and power of the 
church went on increasing, until the Pope came to be uni- 
versally acknowledged as the Vicegerent of God upon 
earth, the infallible medium of the Holy Ghost. When 
the empire broke up into independent nations, Rome be- 
came the ecclesiastical centre of the world, as it had for- 
merly been of the civil power. So subservient were kings 
to priests, that princes held the Pope's stirrup while he 


mounted his horse, and for the slightest offence against the 
church, their subjects were forbidden to supply them with 
food, water, or fire, on pain of similar excommunication 

The number of Catholics at the present time is estimated 
at about one hundred and forty millions. 


Greek Church. — But neither the zeal of missionaries, 
nor the sword of kings, succeeded in making the Catholic 
church quite universal. The continual rivalship between 
the Patriarchs of Kome and Constantinople, at last termi- 
nated in open schism ; and the adherents of the latter took 
the name of the Greek church. The point of doctrine on 
which they separated was concerning the mode in which 
the Holy Ghost came into existence. The church at Con- 
stantinople maintained that he proceeded from the Father 
only ; but the Koman church decided that he proceeded 
from the Father and the Son. The Patriarch of Rome ex- 
communicated the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Alex- 
andria, in the fifth century. Yarious attempts to reunite 
were afterward made, but they were followed by renewed 
excommunications. The Greek church assumed entire in- 
dependence, and were governed by their own Patriarch and 
bishops. In nearly all respects, their doctrines and cere- 
monies are like those of the Catholics. They accept the 
traditions of the Fathers as of equal authority with Scrip- 
ture ; believing them to have been orally transmitted from 
the Apostles. The lower order of their priests are allowed 
to marry once, provided it be not to a widow. 

They invoke the Virgin and the saints, whose pictures 
abound in their churches and houses, sometimes set with 
precious stones. But they retain the opinion which caused 
the Iconoclast warfare, and allow no sculptured images. 
On the strength of this distinction, they express abhorrence 
of the Catholics, as idolaters. 

Their numbers are computed at seventy millions. 


Nestorians.— The adherents of Nestorius, after they 
were excommunicated, sought protection in Persia, and 
gained proselytes in various Asiatic countries. The doc- 
trine taught by Nestorius, that Christ had two natures, 
human and divine, was afterward received into the creed 
of the Catholic church ; but as the Nestorians persisted in 
calling Mary the mother of Christ only, and refused to 
style her Mother of God, they remained excommunicated, 
and formed an independent establishment. Their doc- 
trines, worship, and church government are like those of 
the Greek church ; but they abominate pictures as well as 
images, and allow no image in their churches except the 
cross. When an image of the Virgin was presented to 
them by missionaries, they exclaimed : " We are Christians, 
not idolaters." It is supposed that some of them, when 
they fled from persecution, after the decision of the Coun- 
cil at Ephesus, took refuge in Hindostan; for churches 
maintaining the same faith and worship were found cen- 
turies afterward on the coast of Malabar. They were called 
Christians of St. Thomas, on account of a tradition that 
Thomas the Apostle travelled into India, carried the 
Gospel there, and became a martyr to the bigotry of the 
Bramins. But the tomb shown as his is now believed by 
many scholars to be the grave of a Nestorian bishop, by 
the name of Thomas. The Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus, 
mentioned among spurious books, as purporting to be 
written by the Apostle Thomas, is said to have been read 
in these churches on the Malabar coast as late as the six- 
teenth century. These Christians of St. Thomas united with 
other Nestorians in Mesopotamia and Syria, under one 
church, government. The whole number is computed to 
be about three hundred thousand. They are generally 
called Syrian Christians, because they have the ancient 
Syrian version of the New Testament, and use the same 
language in their worship. 

Armenians. — Another independent church was formed 
in Armenia, which agreed with the Greek concerning " the 


procession of the Holy Ghost," but differed both from that 
and the Roman on the question whether Christ had one 
nature or two natures. They are the remains of the Mono- 
physites, who so long kept up a warfare against the decree 
of the Council at Chalcedon. To this day they teach the 
doctrine of Eutyches, that Christ had but one nature, and 
that even his body was of a divine incorruptible substance. 
The Armenian church agrees with the Greek in believing 
that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father only. It 
was long before they became reconciled to images, but they 
now venerate images of the Virgin and the saints. Their 
Patriarch lives in a monastery on Mount Ararat, which is 
much resorted to as a place of pilgrimage. The number 
of Armenians is estimated at two millions. There are also 
Monophysite Christians remaining in Abyssinia, who re- 
tain many Jewish customs. They circumcise their chil- 
dren, keep Saturday as the Sabbath, and observe the laws 
of Moses concerning articles of food. They admit no one 
to the Lord's Supper till he is twenty-five years of age ; 
maintaining that no one is accountable for sin before that 
time, and that all who die earlier are sure of salvation. In 
Egypt there is a small remnant of the disciples of Eutyches, 
called Copts. These and the Abyssinian Christians are all 
that remain of the once powerful churches in Africa, where 
Tertullian, Cyprian, and Augustine lived and laboured. 
Some travellers have mentioned a Gospel of Thomas, read 
in various Christian churches in Asia and Africa, and 
adopted by some as their only rule of faith. It seems 
likely that this is the apocryphal book mentioned under 
the title of The Infancy of Jesus ; purporting to be written 
by the Apostle Thomas. 

Christians of all churches are accustomed to offer their 
prayers in the name of Christ ; and it is a prevailing belief 
that faith in the atonement of his blood will save the great- 
est sinner ; even if he does not repent till he is on his 
death-bed. Among the titles commonly bestowed on 
Jesus, are " The Messiah ; The Anointed One ; The Holy 
Son of Mary ; The Only Begotten Son of God ; The Word 


of God ; The God-man ; God manifested in the flesh ; God 
of God ; The Mediator and Intercessor for the sins of man- 
kind ; The Lamb who was slain from the beginning ; The 
Sacrifice for all sin ; The Redeemer of the world." 

The birth of Christ was not introduced as an era among 
the nations, until five hundred and twenty-seven years 
after that event. Dionysius Exiguus, abbot of a monastery 
in Rome, was the first author of it. In the beginning, 
there was considerable variation between the eras adopted 
by churches in different parts of the world ; and differences 
of computation still remain. But nearly all Christian na- 
tions place the birth of Christ four thousand and four years 
after the Creation ; in the seven hundred and fifty-third 
year of the building of Rome. Some learned men suppose 
it to have occurred two years earlier ; others say four years. 
Not being introduced as an epoch until after several cen- 
turies had elapsed, it is not surprising that some discrepan- 
cies occur in the reckoning. 

The entire number of Christians, of all denominations, 
is computed at about two hundred and fifty millions. 



"I ask myself if all that host, 

Whose turban'd marbles o'er them nod, 
Were doomed, when giving up the ghost, 

To die as those who have no God ? 
No, no, my God! They worshipped Thee ; 

Then let no doubts my spirit darken, 
That Thou, who always hearest me, 

To these, thy children too, didst hearken." 


According to Arabian traditions, when Hagar and her 
son were dying with thirst, and she implored God for re- 
lief, the angel Gabriel descended and stamped on the 
ground ; whereupon, a fountain sprang forth in the desert, 
on the very spot where the city of Mecca now stands. 
Abraham loved Ishmael better than Isaac, and often vis- 
ited him in his exile; being conducted by a miraculous 
horse, that enabled him to perform the journey in half a 
day. Nevertheless, when the boy was thirteen years old, 
he prepared to sacrifice him, having been thus commanded 
by God three times in a dream. Eblis, [the Devil,] wish- 
ing to prevent such an act of piety, gave warning to Hagar 
and her son ; but they both replied : " If he believes it to 
be the will of Allah, let it be done." But when all was 
in readiness, Gabriel appeared with a ram, which he or- 
dered Abraham to sacrifice instead of Ishmael. This ram 
was the same that Abel offered ; and since that time it had 
been pastured in Paradise. The Jewish Talmud, in relat- 
ing a similar story of Isaac, says an Angel brought the 
ram from Paradise, where it pastured under the Tree of 
Life, and drank from the rivers that flowed therefrom. 
Ishmael became a famous hunter and warrior, and married 
Vol. III.— 30 


the daughter of a king in south Arabia. He had twelve 
sons, the founders of twelve tribes. Abraham, who took 
great interest in his prosperity, wished to have the worship 
of One Supreme God established among them. Allah had 
sent down from heaven a temple for Adam, but at the 
time of the Deluge, He had caused it to be again drawn up 
into heaven. Abraham prayed earnestly that the model 
of it might be revealed to him, and Gabriel brought it in 
answer to his prayer. He then assisted Ishmael in build- 
ing a temple precisely like it, on the spot where he had 
prepared to sacrifice him to the Lord, close beside the 
miraculous fountain. The Angel appointed to prevent 
Adam from eating the forbidden fruit had been changed 
into a diamond for his neglect. The diamond had been 
given to Adam, but was afterward drawn up into heaven 
with his temple. When Gabriel brought the model to 
Abraham, this precious stone was also sent from Paradise 
for him to rest upon ; and it was ever after preserved in 
the House of Prayer, which he and Ishmael erected. 

The descendants of Ishmael were hunters and herdsmen, 
and, like their cousins the Israelites, lived thus for ages, 
without attracting the attention of more civilized portions 
of the world. It is recorded that Caab, son of Ishmael, 
was accustomed to assemble the people in the temple every 
Friday, and instruct them concerning the God taught by 
Abraham. Families that spread into the adjacent country 
built altars for themselves, but all were in the habit of re- 
pairing to the temple erected by Abraham, which was 
called the Caaba, from the name of the zealous preacher. 
Notwithstanding his constant exhortations, idolatry in- 
creased among his relatives ; insomuch that when his grand- 
son died, Mecca was the only place where the doctrine of 
One God was taught. 

When Christianity became the established religion of 
the Eoman empire, Arabians were in a condition which 
indicates that their opinions and customs had been princi- 
pally derived from Chaldean and Egyptian sources ; and 
such would be the natural result of traditional teaching, 


derived by Ishmael from his Chaldean father and Egyp- 
tian mother. A large majority of them worshipped Spir- 
its of the Stars, whom they called " Sons of God" and 
" Daughters of God." They named the Supreme Being 
Allah Taaba, and considered the Spirits his subordinate 
agents in the creation and government of the world, and 
mediators between Him and mortals. Polytheism pro- 
duced the same results there as elsewhere. The Supreme 
God became a mere abstract idea, and the inferior deities 
were the only objects of popular adoration. Opinions and 
customs varied in different parts of the country, but there 
was a general resemblance in doctrines and modes of wor- 
ship. All professed to derive their system from Sabi, the 
son of Seth, and were therefore called Sabians. They 
prayed three times a day : at sunrise, at noon, and at sun- 
set. They observed three annual fasts ; offered sacrifices 
of men and animals ; made a yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, 
where they performed many ceremonies ; and occasionally 
made pilgrimages to Harran in Mesopotamia, rendered 
sacred by some connection with the history of Abraham. 
Some of them made devotional journeys into Egypt, where 
they sacrificed a cock and a black calf, offered prayers, and 
burned incense before the great pyramids, which they be- 
lieved to be the sepulchres of Seth, and his sons Enoch 
and Sabi. The Arabians, from the most ancient times, 
universally practised circumcision, and abstained from 
pork. In some of the tribes, society was divided into 
castes. Some sects believed in the transmigration of 
souls, and some introduced into their worship the sexual 
symbols, which Hindoos and Egyptians reverenced as 
Emblems of Life. When a relative died, it was the gen- 
eral custom to sacrifice a camel on his grave, that he might 
have an animal to ride upon when his body rose from the 
dead. In the vicinity of Persia, the doctrines of Zoroaster 
had become considerably mixed with the old Arabian tra- 
ditions. Some sects supposed that the souls of wicked 
men would be punished during nine thousand ages, and 
then all would be forgiven, and become good. 


The seven days which constitute our week were succes- 
sively appropriated to the worship of the seven Planetary 
Spirits, to each of whom a temple was erected. The one 
built at Mecca is said to have been originally consecrated 
to the Spirit of the planet Saturn. Each tribe considered 
itself under the especial protection of some tutelary deity. 
Therefore, one tribe peculiarly devoted itself to the Spirit 
of the Sun, another to Jupiter, another to Sirius, and ano- 
ther to the star in the Bull's eye. But the temple at 
Mecca, which contained the ancient Caaba within its en- 
closures, was the central place of worship for all the Sa- 

Jews had settled in different parts of Arabia long before 
the Christian era; and when Jerusalem was destroyed, 
large numbers of them took refuge there. They gained 
many proselytes, some of whom were powerful chiefs, 
whose example influenced whole tribes. This is not sur- 
prising, considering how much common ground there was 
between them and the descendants of Ishmael. Both rev- 
erenced Abraham as their ancestor ; both received as sa- 
cred nearly the same accounts of the creation, the deluge, 
and the patriarchs ; and both followed the Egyptian cus- 
toms of circumcision and abstinence from pork. 

When Nestorius was persecuted by the dominant Chris- 
tian church, some of his adherents took refuge in Arabia, 
where they established churches, made some proselytes, 
and had a bishop. The followers of Eutyches, belonging 
to that branch of Monophysites called Jacobites, likewise 
found shelter there from the storm of persecution, and con- 
verted some of the natives to their form of Christianity. 
There were differences of opinion among the Arabian 
Christians. Some believed the soul died with the body, 
and would rise with it at the resurrection ; others regarded 
that doctrine as a great heresy. Nestorians denied that 
Mary, a mortal woman, could be the mother of that portion 
of Christ's nature which was divine. But another Chris- 
tian sect adored her as one of the Trinity ; an idea which 
might have originated in the fact that some Jewish Chris- 


tians represented the Holy Spirit as the mother of Christ. 

Jews and Christians in Arabia competed with each other 
in proselyting the Sabians. Upon one occasion they chal- 
lenged each other to a public discussion, which continued 
three days. Early Christian writers give a miraculous 
account of it. They say that on the third day of the dis- 
putation, the advocate of the Hebrew religion remarked : 
" If Jesus is really in heaven, and can hear the prayers of 
his worshippers, call upon him to appear, and then we 
shall be convinced." The Jewish portion of the audience 
cried out: "Yes; show us your Christ, and then we will 
believe that he is the Messiah." Whereupon, there came 
a loud clap of thunder, followed by vivid lightning ; and 
Jesus appeared walking on a purple cloud, surrounded by 
rays of glory, crowned with a diadem, and bearing a sword 
in his right hand. He hovered over the assembly, and 
proclaimed, with a loud voice: "Lo, I appear in your 
sight ! I am Jesus, whom your fathers crucified." When 
he had said this, he disappeared in the clouds. The Chris- 
tians exclaimed: "Kyrie eleison !" which signifies, "O 
Lord, have mercy on us!" The Jews were struck blind 
by the vision, and did not recover their sight till they were 
all baptized. 

But efforts to convert the Arabians were only partially 
successful. A great majority of the people continued to 
worship the Spirits of the Stars, under the form of images 
made to represent them. The Caaba contained three hun- 
dred and sixty images, either in human form, or in the 
shape of lions, eagles, bulls, and other creatures that repre- 
sented the constellations. Three goddesses, named Al 
Lata, Al Uzzah, and Manah, were called " Daughters of 
God ;" and their images were regarded with peculiar vene- 
ration. One of them held a babe in her arms, as the 
Egyptian Isis was represented with her infant Horus. 
Every family had images of household gods, to which 
prayers were offered in sickness or trouble, also when they 
set out on a journey, and when they returned. During 
the last month of every year, a great concourse of pilgrims 
Vol. III.— 30* 


travelled to Mecca, to offer vows and sacrifices, return 
thanks, and present images, or other gifts, to the temple. 
They put off their garments before entering on the conse- 
crated ground, and walked naked round the Caaba seven 
times, throwing a stone each time, because they believed 
that Abraham drove away the Devil with seven stones, 
when he appeared on that spot and tried to tempt him not 
to sacrifice Ishmael, as the Lord had commanded. They 
reverently touched the stone which Gabriel had brought 
down for Abraham to rest upon; travelled seven times to 
the neighbouring mountains, looking on the ground, to 
imitate Hagar's search for water ; drank from her miracu- 
lous fountain, and carried home some of the holy water. 
They sacrificed goats, sheep, and camels, part of which 
they ate, and distributed the remainder among the poor. 
Before they returned home, they cut off their hair and their 
nails, and burned them in the sacred valley of Mina. 
They wore amulets to protect them from evil, and had 
faith in the magical power of charms and talismans. 

Such was the state of things in Arabia, when the cele- 
brated Mohammed Ben Abdallah, commonly called Ma- 
homet, was born at Mecca, five hundred and sixty-nine 
years after the birth of Christ. He was a lineal descendant 
from Ishmael, in a straight line, from eldest son to eldest 
son. He belonged to the Koreish, the most eminent of all 
the tribes. Ten of their principal men were hereditary 
governors of Mecca, and guardians of the Caaba. The 
family of Hashem, into which Mohammed was born, be- 
longed to that honoured class. The offices the}?- held in- 
volved responsibility, as well as credit; not only on account 
of the annual concourse of pilgrims, but because Mecca was 
a privileged place of sanctuary, like the Cities of Eefuge 
appointed by Moses. Abdallah, the father of Mohammed, 
died without property, soon after the birth of his son. His 
mother Aminah, who was noted for her beauty, worth, and 
intelligence, died when he was six years old. His father's 
eldest brother, Abu Taleb, became guardian of the orphan. 
He was an upright man, and educated the boy conscien- 


tiously, according to the best ideas of his age and country. 
He was a merchant, engaged in inland trade, and as his 
nephew was destined to follow the same business, he fre- 
quently took him with him on distant excursions, while he 
was yet a lad. 

In youth Mohammed was observable for integrity, 
thoughtfulness, and strictness in the performance of devo- 
tional exercises. He was rather taciturn, but when he did 
speak, it was with earnestness and sincerity. His com- 
panions were accustomed to call him Al Amin, The Faith- 
ful. He had large dark eyes, full of feeling, his complexion 
was fresh and glowing, his teeth brilliantly white, his mouth 
finely formed, and his whole countenance luminous with an 
expression of intelligence and frankness. He was above 
the medium stature, his limbs well-proportioned, and his 
movements graceful. By the influence of his uncle, he 
became agent of a widow with considerable property in 
Mecca, named Khadeejah. He managed her business with 
■ so much honesty and discretion, that he won her confi- 
dence and gratitude, which ripened into personal affection, 
cordially reciprocated by him. He was only twenty-five 
years old, and she was forty. She had been distinguished 
above all other women in Mecca for amiability and beauty ; 
and though she had survived two husbands, her face was 
still handsome, and her figure graceful. This marriage 
placed Mohammed in easy circumstances. Little is re- 
corded of him during the next fifteen years. He was con- 
stant in his affection for Khadeejah, very temperate in his 
habits, just in his dealings, scrupulous in keeping his word, 
kind and generous to his relatives, extremely liberal to the 
poor, and strict in the performance of religious exercises. 
The sacred stone, on which Abraham sat, was once stolen 
from the Caaba and carried off by a sect, who were in 
hopes of thereby attracting pilgrims to their city. They 
would not restore it for a long time, though the people of 
Mecca offered five thousand pieces of gold. But not suc- 
ceeding in their project of attracting pilgrims, they finally 
sent it back ; and the keepers of the Caaba proved its iden- 


tity by its peculiar property of swimming on water. A 
dispute arose as to who should have the honour of re- 
placing it in the temple; but the people manifested their 
respect for Mohammed by unanimously deciding that he 
was the most worthy. 

All his relatives worshipped after the manner of the 
Sabians. How far he conformed to it r and what influences 
induced him to become dissatisfied with it, are not known. 
Jews were numerous, and much engaged in trade. In the 
course of his commercial expeditions he would be very 
likely to meet them, and to hear them express horror of 
idolatry. It is said he was on terms of intimacy with a 
learned Jew r and with a Persian named Salman, who 
having been converted to Judaism, and afterward to Chris- 
tianity, in some form or other, finally became a Moslem. 
It is not improbable that he was likewise somewhat ac- 
quainted with the Nestorian and Jacobite Christians set- 
tled in Arabia, who seem not to have been in a very 
enlightened condition. When he was fourteen years old r 
travelling with his uncle to a Fair in Syria, he lodged with 
Bahira, a Nestorian monk, who had been a Jew ; and some 
say he again spent the night with him 7 at a later period of 
his life. Whatever he learned must have been taught 
orally. During his lifetime, writing began to be intro- 
duced among the descendants of Ishmael ; but when he 
was young, no Arab, not even the wealthiest and best 
educated, was taught to read or write ; and it is supposed 
he always remained ignorant of those useful accomplish- 
ments. But Khadeejah had a cousin, named Warakah 
Ebn Nawfal, a proselyte to Christianity, who could read 
and write Arabic and Hebrew, and was tolerably well 
versed in the Scriptures. Mohammed had manifested de- 
vout tendencies from early youth ; his mind was eager and 
inquisitive, and his memory remarkably retentive. Under 
such circumstances he could hardly fail to have heard 
much from Khadeejah's relative, which would make a deep 
impression on him, and form subjects of contemplation, to 
occupy his serious and thoughtful mind, during his jour- 


neys through the deserts. The Arabs were in a very rude 
state, and had many barbarous and superstitious customs. 
Those not engaged in trade were generally herdsmen. In 
many parts of the country, they were much addicted to 
robbery and marauding excursions, as their cousins the 
Israelites had been. Mohammed appears to have loved 
those wild tribes, with the old Asiatic feeling for descend- 
ants from a common ancestor. He had heard how Moses 
received communications from Jehovah, when he retired 
to the sublime solitude of a mountain; how he was divinely 
directed to lead the tribes of Israel away from the degrading 
influences of idolatry, and teach them that the One Su- 
preme God was the only suitable object of adoration ; and 
how those rude tribes, thus bound together by a common 
faith, and a central place of worship, became a wealthy and 
powerful nation. In this there was much to excite a fer- 
vid, energetic temperament. If God had listened to the 
prayers of Moses, on Mount Sinai, and commissioned him 
to be a great prophet to the descendants of Isaac, why 
should He not also listen, on Mount Hera, to the earnest 
entreaties of a descendant of Ishmael, who also derived his 
existence from Abraham, a worshipper of the One True 

Through what states of preparation his soul passed is 
unknown. It is only recorded that he strictly observed 
the annual Arabian Lent, called the Fast of Ramadam, 
which continued thirty days. On such occasions, he was 
always accustomed to retire to a cave in Mount Hera, near 
Mecca, and spend the month in solitude and prayer. No 
one can tell whether severe fasting, and prolonged efforts 
to concentrate all his thoughts on spiritual subjects, so 
affected his nerves, as to produce vivid dreams, or apparent 
visions. If so, he would honestly consider them miracu- 
lous, because that was the universal faith of the age in 
which he lived. It was the old Sabian belief, corroborated 
by the testimony of every Jew and Christian, with whom 
he conversed. 

In the fortieth year of his age, while fasting during the 


month of Ramadam, in the cave on Mount Sera, lie in- 
formed Khadeejah that the angel Gabriel had appeared to 
him, and told him he was appointed to be a prophet, to 
abolish idolatry, and teach the worship of ( me God. Pre- 
vious conversations had doubtless prepared his wife for 
this communication. She listened with reverent joy ful- 
ness, and swore, by Him in whose hands her soul was, that 
she believed he was ordained to be the prophet of his 
pic. She soon communicated the tidings to her cousin, 
Warakah Ebn Xawfal, who was also ready to believe. 
He said Moses had predicted that a prophet like unto him- 
self would arise, and that Jesus had promised not to leave 
his disciples alone, but to send them a Comforter. He 
thought there was no reason to doubt that the same Angel, 
who had appeared to Moses, had been sent to Mohammed ; 
but he did not live long to assist in propagating that belief. 

From that time henceforth, Mohammed considered it his 
mission to destroy idolatry, and restore the worship of One 
God, as taught by Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and 
Jesus ; which religion he said both Jews and Christians had 
corrupted by their superstitions. A favourite slave, named 
Zaid, believed his master was divinely inspired, and his 
faith was rewarded by immediate emancipation. Not long 
after, Mohammed's cousin Ali, a fiery -hearted, spontaneous, 
generous lad, the son of Abu Taleb, became a proselyte. 
The next convert was Abubeker, a man of high standing 
in the Koreish tribe, who soon gained over some other 
influential men in Mecca. To them Mohammed preached, 
according to the communications he received from the 
angel Gabriel. His two leading doctrines were the unity 

I rod, and unquestioning submission to the Divine will ; 
therefore lie called his system Islam, which means submis- 
sion. Things went on in a quiet and rather private way 
for three years, during which he had only thirteen follow- 
ers, including the members of his own family; but they 
all prayed incessantly that the faith might be extended, 
and they zealously devoted themselves to its advancement, 
in every possible way. At the end of that time, he caused 


a banquet to be prepared, and invited forty relatives, all of 
them descendants of his great-grandfather Hashem, who 
had been a man of note in his day. When they had as- 
sembled, he told them of the visits of the Angel, and said: 
" God Almighty hath commanded me to call you unto him. 
I know of no man in all Arabia who can offer his kindred 
anything more excellent than I now offer you ; happiness 
in this life, and felicity in that which is to come. Who 
among you will assist me in my mission? Who will be 
my brother, and vicegerent?" They all seemed doubtful 
what to think or say. The youthful Ali, then only four- 
teen years old, seeing them hesitate thus, started up, and 
exclaimed : " Oh prophet, I am the man ! Whoever rises 
against thee, I will dash out his teeth, tear out his eyes, 
break his legs, and rip up his belly. prophet, I will be 
thy brother and vicegerent." Mohammed embraced the 
ardent youth, and desired those present to listen to him, 
and obey him, as his deputy. Whereupon, many of them 
laughed, and told Abu Taleb he must now prepare to sub- 
mit to his son. The coldness of bis kindred did not abate 
the zeal of Mohammed. He seized every opportunity to 
converse either with friends or strangers, concerning the 
doctrine of One Invisible God. He openly condemned or 
ridiculed some of the popular usages, rendered sacred by 
the sanction of ages. To those whom he saw worshipping 
after the manner of their country, he said : " You pray to 
idols, that you rub with oil and wax, and the flies stick to 
them. I tell you they are nothing but wood." The Ko- 
reish, supposing he assumed to be a prophet for the purpose 
of making money, offered to make a collection for him, to 
appoint him chief of the tribe, and marry him to any 
woman he wished, if he would desist from the course he 
was pursuing. His uncle, the beloved guardian of his 
childhood, besought him to keep silence, and not risk his 
own safety, and that of his relatives, by proclaiming such 
opinions. He burst into tears, and replied: "It is a faith 
approved by God, and He has appointed me to be its apos- 
tle. If they would put the sun in my right hand, and the 


moon in my left, and give me the whole earth for a pos- 
session , I could not disobey the commands of God." 
When pilgrims arrived, or the people assembled on fes- 
tival days, he delivered to them messages from the angel 
Gabriel against idolatry. His uncle Abu Taleb sought to 
counteract these efforts, saying: "Citizens and pilgrims, 
do not listen to these impious novelties. Stand fast in the 
worship of Al Lata, and Al Uzzah." He had, however, a 
strong affection for his nephew, and did his utmost to pro- 
tect him from his numerous enemies. Many of the Kore- 
ish were jealous of the influence exerted by the Hashem 
family, and this heretical teaching afforded them a good 
opportunity to seek to weaken it. They reproached Abu 
Taleb for protecting his blasphemous relative; saying: 
" Thy nephew reviles our religion. He accuses our wise 
forefathers of ignorance and folly. Silence him quickly ; 
lest he kindle discord and excite tumult in the city. If he 
perseveres, we will draw our swords against him and his 
adherents, and thou wilt be responsible for the blood of 
thy fellow-citizens." As the Prophet could not be induced 
to desist, they violently attacked him and his followers, 
and he was frequently obliged to change his residence, to 
save his life. Once, when he was proclaiming his pro- 
phetical mission to an assemblage of pilgrims, he was well 
nigh killed by the stones thrown at him. His uncle Abu 
Taleb appears to have believed in his sincerity, though he 
had no faith in his mission. He encountered the enmity 
of his tribe by openly protecting him, and providing secret 
places of refuge when he could do no better. The more 
the danger increased, the more did the good Khadeejah 
strive to soothe and encourage her persecuted husband. 
She never doubted that he was indeed a prophet sent by 
God ; and she felt as if she was performing a great duty in 
consecrating her property to his support and defence. 
Once, when he had been preaching to the people, and 
returned in the evening, the house was surrounded by 
furious men, who pelted it with stones and other missiles, 
and called upon him to appear, that they might kill the 


man who blasphemed their gods. Khadeejah, perceiving 
there was no chance for him to escape, went forth into the 
midst of the mob, and demanded whether her countrymen 
had lost the Arabian sense of honour, that they could do 
so mean a thing as to attack the house of a woman. Her 
rebuke made them ashamed, and they dispersed without 
doing any further injury. But the animosity of the Kore- 
ish increased to such a degree, that the Prophet gave the 
more timid of his followers leave to withdraw from Mecca. 
In the fifth year of his mission, sixteen of them, among 
whom were one of his own daughters and her husband, 
took refuge in Abyssinia. The persecution continued to 
increase, and two years afterward they were followed by 
seventy or eighty more. They were all kindly received 
by Nejashy, king of that country, who was either partly or 
entirely a convert to Christianity. When they asked for 
his protection, they said: "We have been driven from 
Arabia because we believed in a prophet, whom God hath 
sent ; the one whom Jesus promised. He forbids murder, 
robbery, gambling, oppression, and adultery. He enjoins 
us not to eat blood, or the flesh of any creature that died 
of itself. He commands us to worship One Invisible God, 
and no other ; to pray often, and give a tenth of our in- 
come to the. poor." Nejashy, highly pleased with this 
account, replied: "The Most High God sent Jesus with 
the same injunctions. What does your prophet say of 
himV They answered: "He says Jesus was the Word 
of God, whom a virgin conceived by the breath of the Holy 
Spirit." "Prosperity be with you, and with him from 
whom you came!" exclaimed the king. "He must be that 
prophet on whom the Son of Mary pronounced blessings. 
If the duties of my royal station did not hinder me, verily 
I would go and assume the office of bearing his shoes. No 
one shall molest you." The Koreish sent to demand them, 
but he refused to give them up, and he afterward became 
a convert to the faith of Islam. 

Persecution produced the usual effect. The new doc- 
trines spread so rapidly among the tribes, that the exas- 
Vol. III.— 31 Q 


perated Koreish entered into a league not to buy or sell, 
marry or give in marriage, or in any way hold intercourse 
with the descendants of LTashem, unless they would give 
up Mohammed to the vengeance of their offended deities. 
They entered into this covenant with solemn formalities, 
and to invest it with greater sacredness tbey placed a re- 
cord of it in the Caaba. The relatives of Mohammed re- 
fused to renounce him ; and the tribe divided into factions, 
which contended with each other during three years. At 
the end of that time, Mohammed told his uncle Abu Taleb, 
leader of the Hashemites, that God had manifested his dis- 
pleasure at the Koreish league, by causing a worm to eat 
every word out of the document placed in the Caaba, ex- 
cept His own sacred name. Abu Taleb, being in some 
way convinced that the writing had actually disappeared, 
went to the leader of the Koreish and made a statement of 
it ; declaring that if it proved false, he would deliver his 
nephew into their hands; provided they would agree to 
cancel the league, if it proved true. They acquiesced, and 
were much astonished to find the record obliterated, as he 
had said. But though their covenant was thus rendered 
void, animosity between the factions remained as strong as 
ever. That same year, which was the tenth of Moham- 
med's mission, his kind guardian Abu Taleb died, at the 
age of eighty. Some say he embraced the faith of Islam 
on his death-bed ; others deny it. Yery soon afterward, 
Khadeejah died. She was sixty -five years old, and had 
lived with Mohammed a little more than twenty-four 
years ; during which time she brought him two sons and 
four daughters. While she lived, no other woman shared 
his affections, and he never seemed to desire the acquaint- 
ance of any ; a very remarkable fact, considering he was 
fifteen years younger than herself, and lived in a country 
where polygamy was sanctioned by law and universal 
custom. He buried her with his own hands; and that 
year was ever afterward named by him and his followers 
The Year of Mourning. 

The animosity of the Koreish became more active after 


ke was deprived of the guardian uncle, who had so long 
loved and protected him. They intercepted supplies of 
water, and injured him and his adherents in so many ways, 
that he fled to Tayef, sixty miles from Mecca, accompanied 
bj his favourite freed man Zaid. He was received coldly 
by the principal inhabitants, and when he had been there 
a month, the populace rose against him, while he was at- 
tempting to preach to them, and drove him from the city. 
He returned to Mecca, where he found his followers greatly 
disheartened by the unpromising aspect of his affairs. He 
kept up his courage, however, and continued to preach 
boldly to the pilgrims, and all others who would hear him. 
Six members of a Jewish tribe of Arabs, who lived at 
Yathreb thus became believers in his inspiration, and when 
they returned home, they warmly commended him and his 

In the twelfth year of his mission, he declared to his 
followers that he had made a journey from the temple in 
Mecca to Jerusalem, and had thence ascended through the 
seven heavens into the presence of God, and back again to 
Mecca, in one night. This excited so much distrust, that 
many left him. Others said if "Moses conversed with God 
face to face," they knew not why a similar privilege might 
not be granted to the prophet whom Moses had promised 
should be "like unto himself." The zealous convert Abu- 
beker declared if Mohammed affirmed it, that was sufficient 
for him ; he believed every word he uttered. His undoubt- 
ing reliance confirmed some who were wavering ; and the 
idea that Mohammed, who had heretofore received com- 
munications through the medium of the angel Gabriel, had 
been actually admitted to the Divine Presence, and taught 
by God himself, greatly increased the sacredness with which 
their faith invested him. 

Meanwhile, the pilgrims, who had gone back to Yath- 
reb favourably impressed with Mohammed's teaching, 
had sown some seeds of doctrine in that city. That same 
year twelve men came from thence, and had a meeting 
with the Prophet on a hill near Mecca. They took a 


solemn oath never to worship images, or kill their chil- 
dren, or steal, or commit fornication, or forge calumnies, 
and to obey the Prophet in all things reasonable. These 
proselytes, having received his blessing, were sent home 
with one of his experienced disciples, to give them still 
farther instruction in his doctrines. The next year, being 
the thirteenth of his mission, the Prophet met seventy -five 
more converts, in the night time, at the same place. He 
told them frankly that he had many and powerful ene- 
mies, and might soon be compelled to fly from his native 
city. If they sought to protect him, they might become 
involved in great dangers; therefore,, unless they were 
very firmly persuaded in their own minds, they had better 
leave him to seek assistance elsewhere. They asked what 
reward they were to expect if they happened to be killed 
in defence of him and his doctrines. He told them they 
would thus make sure of the joys of Paradise ; whereupon, 
with solemn formalities, they pledged themselves to his 
service. He chose twelve from among them, who were 
invested with the same authority that the Apostles of 
Christ had over the other disciples. 

When the Koreish heard that his doctrines were thus 
extending abroad, and that be had formed a league with 
certain influential men in Yathreb, they resolved to pre- 
vent his leaving Mecca. It was agreed that a man should 
be selected from each of the forty tribes, and every one 
should pledge himself to plunge a knife in Mohammed's 
heart. This array of numbers was intended to prevent 
the Hashemites from revenging the murder of their kins- 
man ; their power being altogether inadequate to a contest 
with all the tribes. The conspiracy came to the Prophet's 
knowledge. He said it was revealed to him by the angel 
Gabriel. He escaped by night in disguise, with his friend 
Abubeker. His generous-hearted cousin Ali assumed his 
garments, and laid himself down on the Prophet's eouch to 
await the assassins. They came at the appointed hour ; 
but they respected the nobleness of the action, and did him 
no injury. Meanwhile, the fugitives had concealed them- 


selves in a cave, about three miles from Mecca. There 
they remained three days, and the son and daughter of 
Abubeker secretly conveyed them food. The Koreish 
sent scouts in every direction to search for them. One of 
these parties passed directly by the cave, but did not enter. 
As the sound of their trampling passed away, the trem- 
bling Abubeker remarked : " We are only two." " There 
is a third with us," replied Mohammed ; " it is God him- 
self." Some of the Prophet's followers say the Koreish 
were struck with sudden blindness, and could not see the 
cave. Others affirm that a spider was sent to spin a web 
across the entrance, and a pigeon was sent to weave a nest 
and lay two eggs. The pursuers, being deceived by those 
indications, took it for granted that no one could have re- 
cently entered there. Jews had a similar tradition con- 
cerning David ; of whom the Talmud relates that the Most 
High sent a spider to weave a web across the mouth of the 
cave where he was hidden from the anger of Saul. 

The fugitives remained in the cave three days. The 
pursuit having abated in that time, their friends furnished 
them with camels and a guide, and they escaped by night, 
through a rocky and desert country, to Yathreb, which 
was a hundred and seventy miles from Mecca. This is 
called the Hegira, which signifies Flight. It was the com- 
mencement of Mohammed's prosperous career as a prophet; 
therefore, his followers adopted it as their era. It occurred 
six hundred and twenty-two years after the birth of Christ, 
when Mohammed was fifty -three years old. 

The wanderers met with a cordial reception from the 
believers at Yathreb. Mohammed bought a piece of 
ground, and built a small house and a place of worship ; 
both characterized by extreme simplicity. There he stood 
and preached every Friday, leaning against a palm tree. 
It was several years before he indulged himself with the 
use of a chair. Afterward, a rude pulpit was made of 
rough timber. His fervour and eloquence gained converts 
rapidly. In a short time, there was scarcely a family to 
be found which did not contain more or less believers. 
Vol. III.— 31* 


Before his flight from Mecca, the Prophet had always de- 
clared that he was appointed merely to preach One Invisi- 
ble God, and the duty of submission to His decrees; that he 
had been invested with no authority to compel people to 
embrace the true religion. But after the Koreish attempted 
to murder him, he taught that it was highly meritorious 
to fight with unbelievers. It is said he was personally 
present in twenty-seven military expeditions, in nine of 
which he gave battle. On one of these occasions he was 
severely wounded, and narrowly escaped with his life. 
This somewhat shook the faith of his adherents ; but he 
soon restored his authority by telling them the defeat was 
sent as a punishment for their sins, and to admonish them 
to be more zealous in the performance of religious duties. 
This, combined with the assurance that every one who 
died fighting for the faith of Islam was sure to go directly 
to Paradise, re-assured their faith and renewed their en- 

At the commencement of his career he strongly favoured 
the Jewish religion, and taught his followers to turn toward 
Jerusalem when they prayed. There are indications that 
he might have formed a friendly alliance with them, if 
they had not persevered in treating his claims with the 
utmost contempt. Three years after the Hegira, he led a 
band of his followers against the Jews of Koreidha, who 
had aided the Koreish against him. Nearly seven hun- 
dred men were dragged to the market-place in chains,, 
massacred, and thrown into one common grave. The con- 
querors took possession of all their goods, and carried their 
women and children into bondage. He afterward took 
the principal Jewish city in Arabia, and completely subju- 
gated all the descendants of Isaac in that region. 

With success, his power over the minds of men increased 
of course. Though he lived with extremest simplicity in 
the midst of his followers, wore no pontifical robes, and 
assumed no regal state, he ruled them with the combined 
authority of pope and king. They believed everything he 
touched imbibed supernatural virtue. They reverently 


picked up the hairs that fell from his head, and preserved 
them as relics ; and every one was eager to obtain some 
of the water in which he had washed. His residence at 
Yatbreb rendered the city sacred ; and it was thenceforth 
called Medinat al Nabi, The City of the Prophet ; known 
to Europeans under the name of Medina. The most dis- 
tinguished and venerated guardians of the holy Caaba had 
never received a thousandth part of the homage accorded 
to him. The shrine at Mecca was held so sacred by all 
Arabians, that it was an object of importance to the Pro- 
phet to be allowed to make a pilgrimage thither with his 
adherents, who fully believed that he was sent by God to 
restore the religion of Abraham, as it had been originally 
taught in that place. The animosity of the Koreish ren- 
dered such an attempt dangerous ; but six years after the 
Hegira his cause had acquired such strength, that he started 
for Mecca, with an escort of fourteen hundred armed ad- 
herents. When he arrived at the boundary of the sacred 
territory, the Koreish sent him orders not to enter the city. 
He had determined to besiege the place, when an ambas- 
sador arrived, proposing a ten years' truce, on certain con- 
ditions. He and his followers were permitted to visit the 
temple unarmed, and perform the customary rites of pil- 
grimage, with the agreement that they would all leave the 
city at the expiration of the third day. Eighty of the 
Koreish had entered Mohammed's camp in disguise, and 
were discovered by the Prophet, who pardoned the spies, 
and allowed them to return unmolested. It is said this 
act of generosity occasioned the truce. But it is most 
likely that the accounts they carried back served to intimi- 
date, his enemies, and that he had sufficient sagacity to 
foresee such would be the result. For the ambassador, 
who was sent to negotiate a treaty, returned, saying : "I 
have seen the princes of Persia and the emperors of Rome ; 
but I have never seen a king among his subjects like Mo- 
hammed among his followers." The Koreish retired to 
the neighbouring hills, while the pilgrims from Medina 
performed their acts of worship within the consecrated ter- 


ritory. Mohammed departed with his train on the third 
day ; but during that time he succeeded in converting 
three influential men among the Koreish. The next year, 
the Prophet sent messages to various chiefs and princes, 
inviting them to embrace the only true religion. Some 
returned a respectful answer, accompanied with gifts. 
Others replied very contemptuously. One of his ambas- 
sadors, to a Grecian district in Syria, was put to death. lie 
sent his freed man Zaid with three thousand men to revenge 
the insult. Victory was gained, after severe fighting, but 
Zaid was slain. The Prophet loved him, and had adopted 
him; for he had always been faithful and affectionate, and 
he was the first man who believed in his inspiration. 
When they told him Zaid was dead, he answered calmly : 
11 He has done his master's work, and he has gone to his 
master. All is well with him." But when the corpse was 
brought home, the daughter of Zaid found the stern old 
warrior weeping over it like a sorrowing child. " What 
do I see !" she exclaimed, in astonishment. He answered : 
" You see a man weeping over his friend." 

The Koreish having violated some articles of their 
treaty, Mohammed marched against Mecca with ten thou- 
sand troops. He ascended a hill near his native city, and 
prayed with a loud voice that Gabriel and three thousand 
angels might be sent to his assistance. Though these ce- 
lestial auxiliaries were invisible, his followers had the most 
implicit faith that they were in attendance. They rushed 
furiously to the attack, and the Koreish, taken by surprise, 
offered slight resistance. The chiefs fell at the feet of their 
conqueror, who sternly demanded, " What right have you 
to expect mercy from a man whom you have so persecu- 
ted ?" They answered : " We trust to the generosity of 
our kinsman." " You shall not trust in vain," he replied ; 
and they received life and liberty, on condition of embra- 
cing the faith of Islam. Only ten in the city were con- 
demned to die, and six of those were afterward pardoned. 
All the idols in the temple, and on the neighbouring 
mountains, were destroyed, to the great grief and dismay 


of their worshippers. The temple became a mosque, and 
the ancient Caaba the point toward which all believers in 
the Prophet turned when they prayed, as Jews did toward 
the Ark of the Covenant. The diamond from Paradise, 
on which Abraham rested, had long been known as " the 
black stone." Moslems say the frequent touch of Pagans 
had changed its colour, but its purity and lustre will one 
day be restored. The Prophet touched it, and thenceforth 
it became more sacred than it had ever been. 

The man who began by saying he was merely sent to 
preach the truth, not to compel men to accept it, and 
who probably honestly thought so, while he was un- 
tempted by power, now began to announce that he was 
ordained to destroy monuments of idolatry everywhere, 
without regard to holy places, months, or clays. He 
sustained himself by the example of Moses and Joshua, 
whom God had sent on a similar mission. He in- 
cluded Jews and Christians under the term idolaters. 
The first, because he said they styled Ezra "the Son of 
God." The second, because they worshipped Christ as 
God ; prayed to the Spirits of Martyrs ; paid homage to 
images, pictures, and relics; and in some cases believed 
the Virgin Mary to be one of the Trinity. Had the Jews 
treated him respectfully in the early days of his mission, 
when Jerusalem was his hebla for prayer, he would proba- 
bly have made common cause with them ; and very likely 
he might have done much toward verifying their ancient 
prophecy that they should conquer many nations, and 
finally subdue the whole earth. But he seems never to 
have forgiven the scorn with which they treated him. He 
had far greater aversion to them than to Christians. He 
often denounces them in the Koran, and during the latter 
part of his life he persecuted them with peculiar severity. 
But savage as were the Arab tribes, it must be admitted 
that they were somewhat less so, than the Hebrews had 
been under Joshua. In their efforts to extend what they 
believed to be the true religion, they were often cruel, 
tyrannical, and avaricious of plunder. Like their Hebrew 


relatives, they seized " vineyards they had not planted," 
and " harvests they had not sowed," and said they did it 
in obedience to the commands of God. But they did not 
exterminate idolatrous tribes, with all their women and 
babes, without offering them a chance for escape. They 
always proffered the alternative of submission or battle. 
If they fought and were conquered, they could save their 
lives, and be admitted to equal privileges with their in- 
vaders, by assenting to their simple creed : " There is but 
One God, and Mohammed is his prophet." Exceptions 
were made in favour of those who received some Sacred 
Book for the guide of life ; as did Jews and Christians. 
Such could purchase liberty to follow their own religion, 
by paying tribute ; though they were deprived of many 
of the civil privileges enjoyed by "true believers," and 
were supposed to have no hopes of salvation in the world 
to come. This was done to express Mohammed's rever- 
ence for any laws which he believed to have been origin- 
ally revealed from heaven, how much soever he supposed 
them to have been- afterward corrupted. 

Layard, in his very interesting book on the Eemains of 
Nineveh, says: "One of the first acts of Mahomet, after 
he had established his power, was a treaty with the Nesto- 
rians, securing them protection and certain privileges. 
They were freed from military service, their customs and 
laws respected, their clergy exempted from tribute ; and 
it was expressly declared that when a Christian woman 
entered into the service of a Mussulman, she should not be 
compelled to change her religion, to abstain from fasts, or 
to neglect her customary prayers and ceremonies. This 
document is rejected by some European critics as a for- 
gery ; but its authenticity was admitted by early Christian 
and Mahometan writers. A letter from the Patriarch 
Jesujabus is evidence of the Mahometan toleration of Nes- 
torians. He writes : ' Even the Arabs, on whom the Al- 
mighty has in these days bestowed the dominion of the 
earth, are among us. They do not persecute the Christian 
religion ; on the contrary, they commend our faith, and 


honour the priests and saints of the Lord, conferring bene- 
fits upon his churches and convents.'" The Nestorians 
were doubtless regarded with peculiar favour, because 
they would never allow any picture or image to be placed 
in their churches. 

During twenty-four years, Mohammed lived with one 
wife, devotedly attached to her, and her only. After her 
death, he married twelve wives, all widows, except Aye- 
sha, the daughter of his early and zealous friend Abubeker, 
whom he espoused when she was only nine years old. In 
addition to these, he had two handmaids ; one of whom 
gave birth to a son, named Ibraheem ; the only child born 
to him after the death of his first wife. The members of 
this seraglio occupied separate apartments round his dwell- 
ing at Medina. His followers were not allowed to marry 
more than four wives; the limit fixed by Jewish laws. 
But he said he was himself exempted from that rule by 
revelations from Gabriel, which are inserted in the Koran, 
This extension of privilege was also in conformity to the 
decisions of Jewish Eabbis, and was sustained by the exam- 
ple of David and Solomon ; whom both Jews and Chris- 
tians believed to be supernaturally guided and inspired. 
He already had several wives, when he chanced to see the 
wife of his freed man Zaid. She was very beautiful, and 
he became violently enamoured. Zaid, who loved him 
with strong personal affection, and reverenced him as the 
chosen ambassador of the Most High, offered to divorce 
her for his sake. Mohammed at first refused, and strug- 
gled a while with his passion. But a verse of the Koran 
was revealed to him, which sanctioned the proceeding, and 
he added the handsome Zaynab to his hareem. There was 
no Nathan the prophet in Arabia, who dared to rise up 
and rebuke him ; and it must be confessed there were some 
features in King David's treatment of Uriah even more 
discreditable to a servant of God, than were Mohammed's 
dealings with Zaid. 

In the midst of all these irregularities, his good old 
Khadeejah never seemed to lose her strong hold upon his 


a fractions. After her death, he loved and trusted Ayesha 
more than any of his wives; partly on account of her 
youth and beauty, partly from his strong affection and 
gratil "nit- for her father. Yet when this petted favourite, 
years after his first companion was in her grave, ventured 
to ask : " Do you not love me better than you did Kha- 
decjah? She was old, and a widow. Am I not better 
than she was?" He replied warmly: "No; by Allah, 
there never can be a better woman than Khadeejah. She 
helped me when I was poor; she believed in me, when 
others despised me ; she was devoted to me, when all men 
persecuted me." He was accustomed to say that there 
were four perfect women, who had more beautiful palaces 
in Paradise, than any other women. These were his wife 
Khadeejah, his daughter Fatima, the sister of Moses, and 
the mother of Jesus. 

With the exception of voluptuous tendencies in the lat- 
ter part of his life, and great fondness for perfumes, Mo- 
hammed was exceedingly frugal and temperate in all his 
habits. He never tasted of wine or intoxicating drinks. 
lie sometimes ate animal food, and he was very partial to 
honey and milk; but his common diet was barley bread, 
dates, and water. Sometimes months passed without his 
eating anything that required fire for its preparation. A 
cloak spread on the ground served for his bed, and a skin 
filled with date leaves was his pillow. He rode on a blan- 
ket instead of a saddle, mended his own garments and 
sandals, milked the goats, and ate the same food as his 
servants, seated with them on the ground. He manifested 
an attentive kindness to children, and always gave the first 
salutation to whoever he met, even if it were the meanest 
beggar. He declared that he would always persist in doing 
such things, that they might thenceforth be deemed meri- 
torious by those whom his example could influence. It 
was allowable for him to divide lands of the conquered, 
because God had given to him the possession of all the 
earth ; and to take whatever he chose from the spoils of 
war, beside receiving a fifth part when division was made. 


Of course, an immense amount of wealth came into his 
hands. But he was so generous to his friends, and so ex- 
ceedingly liberal to the poor, that he never accumulated. 
From the large sums that came to him, he reserved merely 
enough to maintain his family ; and even from that fund 
he imparted so liberally to the necessities of others, that 
the close of the year found him destitute. On one occa- 
sion, it is said he even gave away his last shirt. His fol- 
lowers have a tradition that an angel once appeared to 
him, and offered to change the whole wilderness around 
Mecca into gold for him. But he raised his hand toward 
heaven, and said : " O Lord I desire to be filled one day, 
and thank Thee, and be hungry another day, and suppli- 
cate Thee." His followers placed implicit reliance on his 
veracity and justice, which they declare was unimpeach- 
able. His cruel treatment of the Jews of Koreidha was the 
darkest stain upon his character. It cannot be excused, 
even on the ground of mistaken theological zeal ; for there 
was great similarity in their opinions, and there was noth- 
ing in their practices to excite his animosity against image- 
worship. With this exception, he was, on the whole, more 
merciful than Asiatic conquerors have generally been. 
Human nature is such a problem, that it is not easy to 
decide how far his aggressions upon others might have 
been sanctioned by the honest, though mistaken, convic- 
tions of his own conscience. He seems to have been sin- 
cerely persuaded that there was no salvation for those 
whose faith was erroneous; certainly not if they were 
idolaters. It is related of him that he went to visit his 
mother's tomb. As he gazed upon it, he burst into a 
flood of tears, and said: "I asked permission of God to 
visit my mother's grave, and it was granted to me; 
but when I asked leave to pray for her soul, it was 

He was extremely devotional in his habits. He never 

destroyed a piece of paper on which he knew that the name 

of Grod was written in any language, or by the followers 

of any religion. He was diligent in prayer. Ali has re- 

Vol. III.— 32 


corded that he sometimes prayed all night, and that "from 
convulsive weeping his breast sounded like a boiling pot ; 
so extreme was his awe of God." He fasted several days 
in every month, beside observing with great strictness the 
annual fast of Ramadam. He never mentioned the faults 
of others, or bestowed much praise. He often smiled, but 
never laughed. He was taciturn, as Arabians generally 
are; but he had an insinuating politeness, and was always 
courteous and affable, especially to inferiors. The Hashem 
family were distinguished by a large dark vein in the mid- 
dle of the forehead, which swelled when they were excited. 
When Mohammed was angry, this became very prominent, 
and " the perspiration fell from his brow like pearls." But 
though naturally of a violent temper, he acquired great 
control over himself. It was one of his maxims that " he 
who can command his own soul is bravest of the brave." 
Returning from battle, he said he was going from a small 
contest to a great one. Being asked what he meant, he 
replied : " The conflict with our own souls, where we al- 
ways have to encounter the worst of our enemies." He 
was never disturbed by the destruction of worldly goods, 
and was habitually gentle ; but " if he heard that truth or 
equity had suffered, he was so angry for the Lord's sake, 
that no one could stand in his presence till the truth was 
vindicated." Though he dressed with such rude simplicity, 
associated daily with all sorts of men, and performed the 
most menial offices for himself, there was a dignity about 
him, which inspired veneration. The Persian Book of 
Traditions concerning him declares that " while he spoke, 
the company inclined toward him, and were silent and 
still, as if a bird were perched on their heads." " The Most 
High inspired such awe of him in the hearts of men, that 
notwithstanding his humility, condescension, and clemency, 
no one could look him directly in the face; and a trem- 
bling, which lasted two months, fell on every infidel and 
hypocrite who approached him." "Light radiated from 
his countenance, as from the full moon ; and his smooth 
erect neck resembled a polished silver statue." He was of 


illustrious lineage, of unequalled nobleness, knowledge, 
and generosity; his words sweeter than honey; and for 
gracefulness a proverb." Of course, some allowance must 
be made for these accounts, considering the partial source 
whence they come. But a man who lived on an equality 
with his servants and soldiers, and yet impressed them 
with so much reverence, as to give rise to such traditions, 
must have been a remarkable character. To estimate him 
justly, it is necessary to remember that he was brought up 
among a fierce and ignorant people, and that he scarcely 
knew anything of the world beyond Arabia. His views 
concerning Christianity cannot surprise us, if we reflect 
what was its condition at that period; especially in the 
countries that came under his notice. Different sects per- 
secuted each other even unto banishment and death ; bish- 
ops contended for power, and were often unscrupulous 
about the means ; the cross was considered an efficacious 
amulet to expel devils from haunted houses, and from the 
bodies of men; churches were filled with pictures and 
relics, before which the multitude prostrated themselves, 
praying for health and harvests ; and in every house were 
images of apostles or martyrs, to which prayers were offered 
before and after a journey. It is not surprising that a reli- 
gion without a priesthood to contend for wealth and power, 
with unadorned places of worship, few ceremonies, and a 
creed without abstruse doctrines, which merely taught be- 
lief in one God and submission to his decrees, should have 
impressed some minds favourably in comparison. Had 
Christianity been in harmony with the precepts and prac- 
tice of its founder, the sword of Mohammed could not have 
displaced it in so many countries. 

His system was a reproduction of old ideas, from various 
sources. He retained many of the Sabian traditions, and 
borrowed from Jews, Christians, and Persians. Judging 
from the quotations and allusions he makes, his knowledge 
of the Christian Scriptures was mostly confined to the 
Spurious Gospels, mentioned as having been in general 
use in the first centuries ; which continued to be received 


and reverenced by churches in the East much longer than 
by those in the West. 

As a reformer, Mohammed was most undoubtedly a 
benefactor to his country. All the changes he introduced 
were an improvement upon the state of things he found in 
Arabia. He abolished idolatry, and sacrifices, and firmly 
established the idea of one God. Daughters were con- 
sidered a burden to a family, and a disgrace if they were 
not married ; therefore, parents often drowned them, or 
buried them alive. But the Koran forbade this, as a great 
sin. Before his time, women were not allowed to inherit any 
share of a father's or husband's property, but he changed 
the laws, and inculcated justice and kindness toward widows 
and orphans. His example established the idea that no 
believer in the faith of Islam ought to hold a fellow believer 
in slavery. In the sale of captives, he prohibited the prac- 
tice of separating mothers from their children. He ordained 
that masters and slaves should have the same food and 
clothing ; and he rendered emancipation easy. The desti- 
tute were not trusted to casual charity. It was enacted 
that every man should give a tithe of his income for the 
support of the poor ; and if he attempted to defraud, he 
was compelled to pay a fifth. The Arabians were much 
addicted to gambling and intoxication. Both of these were 
expressly forbidden. They were not even allowed to taste 
of wine or strong liquors. He did not abolish polygamy, 
which was the ancient custom of the country, and believed 
by him and his followers to be sanctioned by the example 
of the patriarchs ; but he discouraged divorce, and passed 
several salutary and restraining laws on the subject. He 
continually urged honesty and veracity, as crowning vir- 
tues. The old custom of assembling on Friday to offer 
sacrifice and prayer had come to be used mainly as a con- 
venience for trading purposes; but by his exhortations and 
laws it became invested with a devotional character. His 
rude countrymen already believed in a very sensual heaven 
and hell. The Koran diminished rather than increased 
this tendency. The voluptuous pictures, which Europeans 


are accustomed to quote, were mostly introduced by Books 
of Traditions, received as supplementary to the Koran, 
long after his death. He appointed the following prayer 
to be repeated by every one when he was about to leave 
his house : " Oh God, make me content with thy decrees, 
and bless me in that which thou hast destined. Help me 
not to wish the acceleration of what thou hast delayed, nor 
the delay of what thou hast accelerated ; for all things are 
in thy power." He prescribed prayers five times in every 
twenty -four hours ; at sunrise, noon, sunset, close of twi- 
light, and before the first watch of the night. When some 
converts complained of this, as onerous, he replied : " Reli- 
gion is nothing without prayer." He required that all 
these acts of devotion should be preceded by ablution, 
saying that without cleanliness no prayer could be accepta- 
ble to God. He taught his followers that prayer and 
fasting would carry them to the gate of Paradise, and 
benevolence to the poor would gain them admittance. He 
repeatedly disclaimed power to work any other miracle 
than producing the Koran. Whether he really believed 
he was in communication with the angel Gabriel, no mor- 
tal can ever know. The balance of evidence inclines a 
candid mind to the conclusion that he was a religious 
enthusiast, rather than an ambitious artful impostor. 

Ten years after the Hegira, he made a pilgrimage to 
Mecca, with a splendid retinue of more than one hundred 
thousand followers. This was his last journey. The physi- 
cal strength which had endured so much hardship, turmoil, 
and battle, had been failing for the last few years, in con- 
sequence of eating mutton, supposed to have been poisoned 
by a Jewish woman, in revenge for the injuries inflicted 
on her people. Soon after his return from Mecca, he was 
seized by fever, which at intervals deprived him of reason. 
He said to Ali : " Gabriel has every year recited the Koran 
to me once ; but this year, he has done it twice. I think 
this is a sign that my departure is near." He emancipated 
all his slaves, and gave directions concerning his funeral. 
He was so poor, that he literally possessed nothing but one 
Vol. ILL— 32* 


camel ; but he charged Ali to see that every debt was paid. 
Until three days before his death, he continued his usual 
practice of public exhortation and prayer. Weakness then 
compelled him to ask his old friend Abubeker to perform 
the duty for him. With a bandage bound tightly round 
his throbbing head, and leaning on the shoulder of Ali, he 
went to the mosque to bid his people farewell. " Oh, my 
companions," said he, " what a prophet I have been unto 
you ! Did you not break my front teeth, throw dust on 
my forehead, and cause blood to flow from my face, till 
my beard was dyed with it? Have I not suffered distresses 
and calamities through the ignorance of my people? Did 
I not bind a stone on my stomach to allay the torment of 
hunger, while aiding my followers?" They replied : " Yes, 

prophet of God. Yerily you have endured much for 
God's sake, and you have prohibited what was wrong. 
May God reward you with the best of rewards, on our 
account." He answered : " May God grant you the same. 
The time is now very near when I shall be concealed from 
you. Therefore, if any man has a claim on me, let him 
declare it now." A voice from the crowd said : " You 
owe me three drachms." He ordered them to be paid; 
and added: "If I have done injury to any one, I adjure 
him to rise and tell me." A man stood up, and said: 
" Your staff struck me one day ; but whether it was done 
intentionally on your part, I do not know." He replied : 
"God forbid that I should have done it intentionally;" 
and he offered the man his staff, that he might return the 
blow; saying: "It is better to be in shame now than at 
the Day of Judgment." But he kissed the Prophet's body, 
and forgave the accident. Mohammed said to the people: 
" No one can hope for favour from God, but by obedience. 
That alone can save us from the wrath of God. Yerily, if 

1 should sin, I should go to hell. O Lord, I have delivered 
thy message." He descended from the pulpit, and after 
offering a brief prayer with the people, he returned to his 
house. During his illness, he expressed undoubting confi- 
dence in the favour of God, and often repeated consoling 


messages brought by the angel Gabriel, who was said to 
visit him every day and night. The only child he had 
left was Fatima, who had married her cousin Ali. He 
manifested the strongest affection for them, fervently blessed 
them and their children, and charged Ali to be always 
kind to his family. He had previously declared that the 
Angel of Death would never be allowed to take his soul 
from the body till he received permission from himself. 
Gabriel informed him that the Angel was now in attend- 
ance, and would either take him, or go away, which ever 
he chose; adding: "Verily the Most High is desirous to 
meet you." Whereupon, Mohammed replied: "I have 
finished my mission, and am ready to join nry fellow pro- 
phets in Paradise. Oh, Angel of Death, execute your 
orders !" He died with his head reclining in Ayesha's lap. 
His last broken words were: "0 God — pardon my sins — 
yes, my companions — I come." 

The announcement of his departure was met with an 
outburst of clamorous grief. His friends exclaimed, 
" How can he be dead ? He who was our witness and 
intercessor with God ? By Allah, he is not dead ! He is 
only wrapped in a trance, like Moses and Jesus ; and he 
will speedily return to his faithful people." Omar, in his 
frenzy, unsheathed his scimitar, and declared he would 
strike off the head of any infidel, who said the Prophet was 
dead. But Abubeker rebuked them, saying: "Is it Mo- 
hammed you worship, or Him who created Mohammed? 
Verily Allah liveth forever ; but his apostle was a mortal, 
like ourselves ; and he has experienced the common fate 
of mortality, according to his own predictions." He died 
in the eleventh year of the Hegira, when he was sixty-three 
years old. People came from the surrounding country in 
great numbers to gaze upon his beloved countenance, and 
pronounce blessings over his bier. This ceremony lasted 
from Monday till Tuesday night. He had instructed Ali 
to build a very simple tomb, and enclose it with a wall. 
The possession of it rendered Medina a sacred city, thence- 
forth resorted to by many pilgrims. 


Sacred Books. — A belief prevailed among both He- 
brews and Arabians that writings had been handed down 
by Adam. Some Jewish Rabbis aseribed the ninety-second 
Psalm to Adam. In some manuscripts, there was a Ohal- 
dee title, which declared: "This is a song of praise, re- 
peated by the first man, for the Sabbath day." In the 
Christian Scriptures, Jude alludes to prophecies by Enoch, 
" the seventh from Adam." It was a current tradition 
among Arabians that Adam received ten books from 
heaven ; that Abraham, in the course of his travels, found 
a chest containing those books, together with others, writ- 
ten by Seth and Enoch; that ten others were afterward 
communicated to him, among which was the Zend Avesta. 
Books purporting to be written by Enoch and Seth still 
exist in Asia. They are said to contain accounts of Star 
Spirits, mediators between the Supreme and mortals, and 
of love entertained by some of them for women on this 
earth, by which different races of intermediate genii were 
produced. At the time Mohammed appeared, the Book 
of Seth was much revered by many of the Arab tribes. 
They also had traditions concerning the creation, the de- 
luge, and the descendants of Adam, which were very simi- 
lar to the Hebrew, and which they traced to Abraham. 
The Zend Avesta, also attributed to him, was regarded 
with reverence, especially by tribes in the neighbourhood 
of Persia. A knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures, espe- 
cially of the Rabbinical traditions which formed the Tal- 
mud, was introduced among tribes converted to Judaism. 
They had much reverence for a book called Psalms of 
David, to which were added prayers by Moses, Jonas and 
others. Some of the numerous spurious Gospels afloat in 
the first centuries, many of them from Gnostic sources, had 
been introduced into Arabia by Christian sects; and it is 
obvious that Mohammed, by some means or other, was 
acquainted with them. The Koran seems to be composed 
of fragments from all these sources ; and this was in ac- 
cordance with the teaching of Mohammed, who always 
spoke of his own inspirations as " a confirmation of the 

Mohammedanism:. 381 

Scriptures which had been revealed before." He said ten 
books had been given to Adam, fifty to Seth, thirty to 
Enoch, and ten to Abraham. Afterward the Pentateuch 
was revealed to Moses, the Psalms to David, the Gospel to 
Jesus, and the Koran to him. He says : " We make no 
difference between that which God has taught us, and that 
which Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, the twelve tribes, Moses, 
and Jesus, have learned of the Lord." To restore religion 
as it was taught by Abraham was especially his object. 
In the Koran it is written: "The Law and the Gospel 
were not sent down till after Abraham. He was neither a 
Jew nor a Christian. But he was of the true religion ; 
one resigned unto God, and not of the number of idolaters." 
Mohammed said the first hundred books revealed by God 
had all been entirely lost ; that Jesus had carried his Gos- 
pel back with him to heaven; that the Pentateuch of 
Moses, the Psalms of David, and the Gospels received by 
Christians, had been so much altered, that, though they 
might retain some portions of truth, they were by no means 
to be relied on; the Koran was the last revelation that 
would ever be given ; the only trustworthy standard ; and 
angels had especial charge of it, to prevent its ever be- 
coming corrupted, as other Sacred Books had been. 

The Koran purports to have been revealed to Moham- 
med in portions, by the angel Gabriel, at different places, 
and successive periods, as various emergencies required, 
during the course of twenty three years. The Prophet 
being unable to write, employed a scribe to record these 
fragments. It is generally said that Ali was his principal 
amanuensis ; but others were also employed. These frag- 
ments were left in a chest, in a very disorderly state, some 
written on skins, some on palm leaves, and some on 
shoulder-blades of mutton ; for paper was not invented, 
and parchment was then rarely seen in Arabia. Two 
years after the death of Mohammed, his friend Abubeker 
collected them and had them copied into a volume ; and 
it is said that some verses which had been committed 
to memory were added. It forms a printed book about 


the size of the New Testament. Like the Pentateuch, 
it constitutes the only civil code, as well as the religious 
standard of the nation ; and most of the laws are in fact 
almost exact transcripts of the ordinations of Moses, and 
the judicial decisions of Jewish Rabbis. It breathes also 
the same spirit of extermination against idolaters, that 
the Old Testament does against the Philistines. Hebrews 
called their Sacred Books by the general term of The 
Scriptures, or The Writings. Arabians named theirs Al 
Koran, which signifies The Reading. The following ex- 
tracts will serve to give some idea of its character : The 
first chapter consists of a prayer, which all devout Moslems 
pronounce before they begin to read anything, and as a 
prelude to all important undertakings : " Praise be to God, 
the Lord of all creatures ; the Most Merciful, the King of 
the Day of Judgment ! Thee do w r e worship, and of thee 
do we beg assistance. Direct us in the right way, in the 
way of those to whom thou hast been gracious ; not of 
those against whom thou art incensed, nor of those who 
go astray." 

" God hath commanded that ye worship no one beside 

" There is no God but Allah, the living, the self-sub- 
sisting. He hath sent down unto thee the book of The 
Koran, with truth confirming that which was revealed be- 
fore it. For he had previously sent down the Law and 
the Gospel, as guides unto man. He had also sent down 
the distinction between good and evil. Verily, those who 
believe not the signs of God shall suffer a grievous punish- 
ment ; for God is mighty, and able to revenge." 

" Say God is one God ; the eternal God. He begetteth 
not, neither is he begotten ; and there is not any one like 

" The Jews say Ezra is the Son of God, and the Christians 
say Christ is the Son of God. This is their saying in their 
mouths. They imitate the sayings of those who were un- 
believers in former times. May God resist them ! How 
they are infatuated 1 They take priests and monks for 


their lords, beside God, and Christ the son of Mary ; al- 
though they are commanded to worship one God only. 
There is no God but him." 

" When God shall say unto Jesus, at the Last Day, 
Jesus, son of Mary, didst thou say unto men, take me and 
my mother for two gods, beside God ? He shall answer, 
Praise be unto Thee ! It is not for me to say that which 
I ought not. If I had said so, thou surely wouldst have 
known it. Thou knowest what is in me, but I know not 
what is in Thee; for thou art the knower of secrets. I 
have not spoken to them otherwise than what thou didst 
eommand me ; namely, Worship God, who is my Lord, 
and your Lord." 

" Verily Christ Jesus is the apostle of God ; a Spirit pro- 
ceeding from Him; the Word, which he conveyed into 
Mary. Believe, therefore, in God and his apostles ; and 
say not there are three Gods. Forbear this. It will be 
better for you. God is but one God. Far be it from him 
that he should have a son ! He alone governs the heavens 
and the earth. Christ doth not proudly disdain to be a 
servant unto God ; neither do the angels, who approach 
near to his presence." 

" Assuredly, they are infidels, who say, Verily, Christ, 
the son of Mary, is God ; since Christ said, children of 
Israel, serve God, my Lord, and your Lord. Whosoever 
giveth a companion unto God, God will exclude him from 
Paradise, and his habitation shall be hell-fire ; and the un- 
godly shall have none to help them. They are certainly 
infidels, who say God is the third of three ; for there is no 
God but one God. If they refrain not from what they say, 
a painful torment will surely be inflicted on them. Will 
they not, therefore, be turned unto God, and ask pardon 
of Him 'I since God is gracious and merciful. Christ, the 
son of Mary, was no more than an apostle. Other apostles 
preceded him. His mother was a woman of veracity. 
They both ate food." 

" It is not allowable to the Prophet, nor to those who 
are true believers, that they pray for idolaters, although 


they be of kin, after it becomes known unto them, that 
they are inhabitants of hell. Abraham did not ask for- 
giveness for his father, otherwise than in fulfilment of a 
promise he had made unto him. And when it became 
known unto him that he was an enemy of God, he declared 
himself clear of him." 

"Verily, repentance will be accepted with God, from 
those who do evil ignorantly, and repent speedily. Unto 
them will God be turned ; for God is knowing and wise. 
But no repentance will be accepted from him who waits 
till death presents itself, and says : 'Verily I repent now ;' 
nor from those who are unbelievers. For them is pre- 
pared a grievous punishment." 

" Fight for the religion of God against those who fight 
against you ; but transgress not by attacking them first ; 
for God loveth not the transgressors. And kill them 
wherever ye find them; and turn them out of that 
whereof they have dispossessed you ; for temptation to 
idolatry is more grievous than slaughter. Yet fight not 
against them in the holy temple, until they attack you 
therein ; but if they attack you, slay them there." 

" The sword is the key of heaven and of hell. A drop 
of blood shed in the cause of God, a night spent in arms, 
is of more avail than two months of fasting and prayer. 
Whosoever falls in battle, his sins are forgiven. At the 
day of judgment, his wounds shall be resplendent as Ver- 
million, and odoriferous as musk ; and the loss of his limbs 
shall be supplied by the wings of angels and cherubim." 

"Whoever shall be slain unjustly, we have given his 
heir power to demand satisfaction. But let him not ex- 
ceed the bounds of moderation, by putting to death the 
murderer in too cruel a manner, or by revenging his 
friend's blood on any other than the person who killed 

"Verily, those who disbelieve our signs, we will surely 
cast to be broiled in hell-fire. So often as their skins shall 
be well burned, we will give them other skins in exchange, 
that they may have the sharper torment; for God is mighty 


and wise. But those who believe, and do that which is 
right, we will bring into gardens watered by rivers. Therein 
shall they remain forever, and there shall they enjoy wives 
free from all impurity ; and we will lead them into per- 
petual shades." 

" When the inevitable day of judgment shall come, it 
will abase some, and exalt others. Those on the left hand 
shall dwell amid burning winds, and scalding water, and 
in the shadow of black smoke. Those on the right hand 
shall approach near unto God. They shall dwell in gar- 
dens of delight, reposing on couches adorned with gold 
and precious stones. Youths, blooming with immortal 
beauty, shall wait upon them with whatsoever birds or 
fruits they may desire, and with goblets of wine, the drink- 
ing of which shall not disturb their reason, or cause their 
heads to ache. As a reward for that which they have 
wrought they shall have for companions fair damsels, re- 
sembling pearls hidden in their shells, and having large 
black eyes. They shall not hear any charge of sin, nor 
any vain discourse; but only the salutation, Peace! 
Peace !" 

"He who shall appear with good works, shall receive a 
tenfold recompense for them; but he who shall appear 
with evil works, shall receive only an equal punishment for 

" Lord, give us the reward thou hast promised by thy 
apostles ; and cover us not with shame on the day of resur- 
rection. Their Lord answereth them, saying, I will not 
suffer the work of those among you who work righteously 
to be lost, whether ye are male or female ; for the one of 
you is from the other." 

"Surely those who are believers, and Jews also, and 
Christians, and Sabians, and all who believe in God, and 
the last day, and do that which is right, shall have their 
reward with the Lord. There shall come no fear upon 
them, neither shall they be grieved." Some commentators 
on the Koran admit that this text teaches the salvation of 
all men in their own religion, provided their faith is sin- 
Vol. III.— 33 R 


cere, and their works righteous. But they say it was soon 
after abrogated by other revelations; especially by the 
following message: "Whoever followeth any other reli- 
gion than Islam, it shall not be accepted of him ; and at 
the last day, he shall be of those who perish." 

" No man can die except by permission of God ; accord- 
ing to what is written in his Book, which contains the 
fore-ordination of all things." 

"If ye hear that a mountain hath changed its place, 
believe it ; but if ye hear that a man has changed his dis- 
position, believe it not." * * * * "He shall assuredly 
return to that for which he was created." 

" Freemen may marry as many as four wives, free or 
servile; but no more." "Ye are to live chastely with 
them, neither committing fornication, nor taking them for 

" O men, fear the Lord, who hath created you out of 
one man, and out of him created his wife, and from those 
two hath multiplied many men and women. Fear God, 
by whom ye beseech one another. Kespect women, who 
have borne you ; for God is watching over you. Give 
orphans their substance when they come of age. Render 
them not bad, in exchange for good ; and devour not their 
substance by adding it to your own ; for this is a great sin. 
If ye fear that ye shall not act righteously toward orphans 
of the female sex, take in marriage such other women as 
please you ; two, or three, .or four ; but no more. If ye 
fear that ye cannot act equitably toward so many, marry 
one only ; or the slaves ye shall have acquired. This will 
be easier, that ye swerve not from righteousness." 

" Men ought to have a part of what their parents and 
kindred leave behind them, when they die; and women 
ought also to have a part of what their parents and kindred 
leave ; whether it be little, or whether it be much, a deter- 
minate part is due to them." 

" Show kindness unto your parents, whether one or both 
of them attain to old age with thee. Say not unto them, 
Fie upon you ! neither reproach them. But speak respect- 


fully unto them, and submit to behave humbly toward 
them, out of grateful affection; and say, O Lord, have 
mercy on them, and care tenderly for them, as they cared 
for me, when I was little." 

" Give what is needful unto him who is of kin to you, 
also unto the poor and the traveller. Waste not thy sub- 
stance profusely ; for the profuse are brethren of the devils ; 
and the Devil was ungrateful to his Lord. If thou turn 
away from giving to the needy, at least speak kindly to 
them, in expectation of the mercy thou hopest from God." 

" Paradise is prepared for the godly, who give alms in 
prosperity and adversity ; who bridle their anger, and for- 
give men. For God loveth the beneficent, and those who 
after having committed a crime, or dealt unjustly with their 
own souls, remember Him, and ask pardon for their sins, 
and persevere not in what they have done. Their reward 
shall be pardon from their Lord, and gardens wherein 
rivers flow. They shall remain therein forever." 

"To endure and to pardon is the wisdom of life." 
" It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces in prayer 
toward the East and the West ; but righteousness is of him 
who believeth in God and the last day, and the angels, and 
the Scriptures, and the prophets ; who for the Lord's sake, 
giveth money unto his kindred, and unto orphans, and to 
the needy, and to strangers, and for the redemption of 
captives ; who are constant in prayer, and in the giving of 
alms ; who perform their covenant when they have cove- 
nanted ; who behave patiently in times of violence, adver- 
sity, and hardship. Such are they who truly fear God." 

"Unto such of your slaves as desire a written instru- 
ment, allowing them to redeem themselves, on paying a 
certain sum, write one, if ye know good in them; and 
impart to them of the riches of God, which He hath given 

"If your maid-servants wish to live chastely, compel 
them not to prostitute themselves, in order that ye may 
gain the casual advantages of this present life." 

"Walk not proudly in the land; for thou canst not 

388 rilOGKKSS OF RELIGIOUS ideas. 

cleave llie earth, neither canst thou equal the mountains in 
stature. All this is evil, and abominable in the sight of 
the Lord." 

11 true believers, when ye are called to prayer on the 
Day of Assembly [Friday] hasten to the commemoration 
of God, and leave merchandizing. This would be better 
for you, if ye knew it. When prayer is ended, then dis- 
perse yourselves through the land as ye list, to seek gain 
from the liberality of God ; but remember God frequently, 
that ye may prosper." 

"Prayer is the pillar of religion, and the key of Para- 

"Draw not near unto fornication; for it is wickedness, 
and an evil way." 

"In wine and lots [gambling] there is great sin. In 
some respects they are of use unto men ; but their sinful- 
ness is greater than their use." 

" God will not punish you for an inconsiderate word in 
your oaths ; but he will punish you for what ye solemnly 
swear with deliberation. The expiation of such an oath 
shall be to feed ten poor men, or to clothe them, or to ran- 
som a true believer from captivity. He who cannot find 
wherewith to perform one of these three things, shall fast 
for three days." 

"Perform your covenant; for the performance of cove- 
nants shall be inquired into hereafter." 

"When you measure aught, give full measure; and 
weigh with a just balance." 

"One hour of equity is better than seventy years of 

The accounts of Adam, Noah, and the patriarchs, which 
Arabs believed had been handed down by Abraham, are 
given in the Koran with less resemblance to the Penta- 
teuch, than to Rabbinical traditions among the Jews. The 
following will serve for a sample : God is represented as 
saying to man, " We created you, and afterward formed 
you; and then said unto the angels, Worship Adam! 
And they all worshipped him except Eblis. God said, 


What hinders thee from worshipping Adam, as I have 
commanded? He answered, I am more excellent than 
Adam ; for thou hast created me of fire, and hast created 
him of clay. God said, Get thee down from Paradise ; for 
it is not fitting to behave proudly therein. Get thee hence ! 
Thou shalt be one of the contemptible. He said, Give me 
respite until the day of resurrection. God answered, Verily 
thou shalt be one of the respited. The Devil said, Because 
thou hast degraded me, I will lay wait for men in thy 
strait way. I will come upon them from before, and from 
behind, and from their right hand, and from their left. 
Thou shalt not find the greater part of them thankful. 
God said unto him, Get thee hence, despised and driven 
far away. Verily, whoever of them shall follow thee, I 
will surely fill hell with you all. As for thee, O Adam, 
dwell with thy wife in Paradise, and eat of the fruit thereof 
wherever ye will ; but eat not of this tree, lest ye become 
of the number of the unjust. And Satan suggested to 
them both that he would discover unto them their naked- 
ness, which was hidden from them. He said, Your Lord 
has not forbidden you this tree for any other reason but 
lest ye should become angels, or immortal. And he sware 
unto them, saying, Verily I counsel you aright; and 
through deceit, he caused them to fall. When they had 
tasted of the fruit, their nakedness appeared unto them; 
and they began to join together the leaves of Paradise to 
cover themselves. Their Lord called to them, saying, 
Did I not forbid you that tree ? Did I not say unto you 
Satan is your declared enemy ? They answered, O Lord, 
we have dealt unjustly with our own souls; and if thou 
art not merciful to forgive us, we shall surely perish. God 
said, Get ye down ! the one of you an enemy to the other. 
Ye shall have a dwelling-place upon earth, and provision 
for a season. Therein shall ye live, and therein shall ye 
die ; and from thence ye shall be taken forth at the resur- 

The phrase, " Get ye down" implies that the Garden of 
Eden was supposed to be above this earth. Cyprian, and 
Vol. 111.— 33* 


other Christian Fathers, believed that the souls of martyrs 
were waiting for the day of resurrection in the same Para- 
dise from which Adam was expelled. Probably the idea 
of expulsion from Paradise grew out of the old oriental 
theory that the souls of human beings were originally an- 
gels, who were banished from their heavenly home for 
desiring too much knowledge, and were imprisoned in 
bodies on earth, made subject to death. In the sacred tra- 
ditions of most nations, the celestial Paradise is described 
as having a Tree of Life in the midst, at the foot of which 
four rivers flowed. 

The accounts of the birth of Christ in the Koran are 
obviously from some of the Spurious Gospels, described in 
the chapter on Christianity ; and like them will remind 
the reader of Hindoo accounts of Crishna. The Gnostic 
idea that Jesus merely appeared to die is reproduced in 
the Koran, and of course universally believed by Moslems. 
A few extracts will serve to show this : "The angel said, 
O Mary, verily God sendeth thee good tidings. Thou 
shalt bear the Word proceeding from himself. His name 
shall be Christ Jesus, the Son of Mary. In this world he 
shall be honoured, and in the world to come he shall be 
one of those who approach near to the presence of God. 
He shall speak while he is yet in the cradle ; and when he 
is grown up, he shall be one of the righteous. She an- 
swered, Lord, how shall I have a son, since a man hath 
not touched me? The angel replied, God creates what- 
ever he pleases. When he decrees a thing, he says Be ! 
and it is done. God will teach him wisdom, and the 
Scripture, and the Law, and the Gospel ; and will appoint 
him an apostle to the children of Israel. He shall say, 
Verily, I come unto you with a sign from the Lord ; for I 
will make before you the figure of a bird with clay, and 
when I breathe thereon it will become a bird, by permis- 
sion of God. I will heal him that has been blind from 
his birth. I will cure the leper, and raise the dead, by 
permission of God. I come to confirm the Law, which 
was revealed before me. And I come unto you with a 


sign from your Lord ; therefore, fear God and obey me." 
"Zachariah, who had charge of Mary during her preg- 
nancy with the immaculate child, being at that time offici- 
ating priest, suffered no one but himself to go into her 
chamber, or supply her with food ; and he always locked 
seven doors upon her. Notwithstanding this precaution, 
he always found a plentiful table spread before her of 
summer fruits in winter, and winter fruits in summer." 

11 When Mary brought the babe to her people, they said, 
O Mary, now thou hast done a strange thing ! Thy father 
was not a bad man, neither was thy mother a harlot. She 
made signs to the child to answer them. But they said, 
How shall he speak, who is but an infant in the cradle ? 
Whereupon, the babe said, ' Verily, I am the servant of 
God. He hath given me the book of the Gospel, and ap- 
pointed me to be a prophet. He hath commanded me to 
observe prayer, and to give alms so long as I shall live, 
and to be dutiful toward my mother. Peace be on the 
day whereon I was born, and the day whereon I shall die, 
and the day whereon I shall be raised to life.' This was 
Jesus, the son of Mary, the Word of truth, concerning 
whom they doubt. It is not meet for God that he should 
have any son. God forbid !" Certain Jews demanded, as 
a proof of Mohammed's mission, that they might see a 
book descend to him from heaven ; or that he would pro- 
duce one written in celestial characters, like the tables of 
Moses. In answer to this, the following verse was com- 
municated for the Koran : " They who have received the 
Scriptures will demand of thee that thou cause a book to 
descend unto them from heaven. They formerly asked of 
Moses a greater thing than this ; for they said, Show us 
God visibly. They have not believed in Jesus, and have 
spoken against Mary, which is a grievous calumny. They 
have said, Verily we have slain Jesus, the son of Mary, the 
apostle of God. Yet they slew him not, neither crucified 
him ; for he was represented by one in his likeness. Ver- 
ily, they who disagreed concerning him were in doubt as 
to this matter. They had no sure knowledge thereof, but 


followed only an uncertain opinion. They did not really 
kill him, but God took him up unto himself." * * * * 
"The Jews devised a stratagem against Jesus, but God de- 
vised a stratagem against them. God was the best deviser 
of stratagems, when he said, O Jesus, verily I will not have 
thee to die, but I will deliver thee from the unbelievers, 
and take thee up unto myself." 

The sermon on the mount and the parables of Jesus are 
not alluded to in the Koran. Whether Mohammed was 
acquainted with them or not is a matter of uncertainty. 
He never learned to read or write. His followers consider 
this conclusive evidence that the Koran was produced by 
direct inspiration ; and they glory in calling him The Il- 
literate Prophet. The Koran gave this answer to those 
who demanded miracles : " They say unless a sign be sent 
down to him from his Lord, we will not believe. Answer, 
Signs are in the power of God alone ; and I am no more 
than a public preacher. Is it not sufficient for them that 
we have sent down unto thee the book of the Koran ? 
Thou eouldst not read any book before this, neither couldst 
thou write. Had it been otherwise, gainsayers might have 
justly doubted the divine origin thereof." 

All Asiatic languages lose much of their beauty and 
majesty in the process of translation into modern tongues. 
This is peculiarly the case with the Koran, because it was 
written in a kind of chanting verse, the rhythm and ca- 
dence of which were very musical to Arabian ears, but are 
entirely lost in translation. To the English reader it 
seems a confused medley of Chaldean, Persian, Arabian, 
Jewish, and Christian traditions, with many excellent moral 
maxims, and wearisome repetitions of promises and threat- 
enings. Arabic and Hebrew have near relationship, being 
derived from the same source; but Arabic is the richer 
language, and has been styled "a more refined kind of 
Hebrew." The Koreish spoke a dialect more polished 
than the other tribes; and Mohammedans describe the 
Koran as its purest and most beautiful specimen. The 
following verse relating to the Deluge is quoted as pre- 


eminently sublime : " earth, swallow up thy waters ! 
and thou, heaven, withhold thy rain! And imme- 
diately the water abated, and the decree was fulfilled." 
They have a tradition that four unbelievers, most eminent 
for eloquence, met at Mecca, to produce a book equal to 
the Koran; but when they heard that sentence recited, 
they gave up the attempt in despair. When poets pro- 
duced anything of superior excellence, it was customary 
to fasten it on the Caaba, by way of honourable distinc- 
tion. But after that verse was revealed to Mohammed, 
all the poets went to the temple at night, and removed 
their specimens, lest they should be humbled by the com- 
parison, When the inspired Imam Saduk listened to that 
sentence, he exclaimed: "Verily, if men and genii were 
purposely assembled to produce a book equal to the Ko- 
ran, they could not produce one like unto it, though they 
combined to assist each other." Their traditions likewise 
declare that Mohammed once issued a challenge to the 
learned everywhere, to disprove his claim to divine inspi- 
ration by composing a book equal to the Koran. " But 
though the number of elegant writers exceeded the sands 
of the desert, and all were eager to falsify the Prophet's 
claims, yet their efforts were entirely vain." Mohammedan 
writers say that u a sentence of the Koran inserted in any 
other composition, however eloquent, is like a ruby, and 
shines like a gem of most brilliant lustre. So inimitable 
is its diction, as to be the subject of astonishment to all 
learned men, ancient and modern." " Such is the innate 
efficacy of the Koran, that it removes all pains of body 
and sorrows of mind. It annihilates what is wrong in car- 
nal desires, delivers from the temptations of Satan, from 
external and internal fears, from enemies within and with- 
out. It removes all doubts raised by satanic influences, 
sanctifies the heart, imparts health to the soul, and pro- 
duces union with the Lord of Holiness. It moves hearts 
that are heavy as mountains, causes rivers to flow from the 
eyes, ploughs up the soil of careless bosoms, sows there the 
seed of divine love, and like the trumpet of the archangel, 


re-animates those who are dead in pride." The Imam 
Saduk, being asked why it was that the more the Koran 
was read the newer it appeared, replied : " Because it was 
not sent for one particular age, but for all mankind, down 
to the judgment day." Some say that the proof of inspi- 
ration is not in the style, but in the remarkable and true 
prophecies it contains. 

Jews believed that the Law of Moses was written be- 
fore Adam was created ; that it was coeval with the throne 
of Jehovah. The prevailing belief in Mohammedan coun- 
tries is that the Koran was not written by any mortal ; 
that it was the uncreated eternal Word, existing in the 
very essence of God ; that every word of it was inscribed 
with a ray of light on the table of everlasting decrees, 
which stands near the throne of Allah ; that a copy of it 
was written on parchment made of the skin of the ram> 
which Abraham sacrificed instead of Ishmael ; that it was 
bound in silk, adorned with the gold and gems of Paradise, 
and brought by Gabriel to Mohammed. Portions of it 
were read to him from time to time, as occasions required ; 
and once a year the entire volume was shown to him. All 
sects hold it in the greatest possible reverence. Like the 
Hindoos and the Jews, they never touch the Sacred Book 
without first washing their hands. Lest it should be done 
inadvertently, they place a label on the cover: " Let no 
one touch this, but those who are clean." They never 
hold it below their girdles ; and never knowingly allow an 
unbeliever to possess a copy. On important occasions, 
they consult it as an oracle, taking the first verse they 
open upon as an inspired guide. They swear by it, carry 
it with them to war, inscribe sentences of it on their ban- 
ners, and believe it will finally be established in every 
kingdom of the earth. The wealthy have copies of it en- 
closed in golden covers set with precious stones. In some 
places the entire volume is read through daily at the prin- 
cipal mosque, by relays of appointed readers,, who take it 
up in succession. It is said there are some devotees who 
have read it seventy thousand times. All questions of 


life and property, as well as of doctrine, are decided by it. 
Having been in existence over twelve hundred years, it of 
course fails to meet all the wants of modern times, even 
where society is so very slightly progressive as in Asia. 
But they stretch its capacities by resorting to the same 
process that Hindoos did with the Yedas, and Jews with 
the Pentateuch ; they give ingenious interpretations, and 
resort to allegorical significance where the literal meaning 
is unsatisfactory. An immense number of commentaries 
have been written upon it. It is supposed to require much 
learning to distinguish rightly between what was intended 
to be allegorical and what literal ; to determine for what 
emergencies particular passages were written, and whether 
they were abrogated by succeeding passages. There have 
been various editions of the Koran ; but they are all said 
to contain exactly the same number of words and letters ; 
for, like the Jewish Eabbins, they take pains to count the 
letters, and even how many times each letter is used. It 
has been translated into many languages. 

Jews formed the Talmud by collecting their prevalent 
traditions and oral laws, which became of equal authority 
with the Pentateuch. Christians received the Traditions 
of the Fathers as of equal authority with their Scriptures. 
Two hundred years after the death of Mohammed, tra- 
ditions concerning him and his family, and a collection of 
canonical decisions made in the first ages of Islamism, 
were collected and published. The first of these volumes, 
called the Sonna was prepared under the supervision of 
Al Bochari, who from three hundred thousand traditions 
selected seven thousand two hundred and seventy five, be- 
lieved to be authentic. To obtain divine direction in the 
process, he prayed for guidance each day in the temple at 
Mecca, having previously bathed in water from Hagar's 
sacred fountain. Each page, as it was written, was con- 
secrated by being placed on the pulpit and on the tomb 
of Mohammed. This supplement to the Koran is received 
as sacred authority by a majority of Moslems, but not by 
all. After the death of the Prophet there was much quar- 

806 progress of religious ideas. 

relling and fighting concerning who should preside over 
civil and ecclesiastical affairs. In the course of these con- 
tentions, Ali was assassinated. Mohammed had been ac- 
customed to call him his brother, his vicegerent, his Aaron ; 
and had given him his most beloved daughter in marriage. 
This, combined with his own honourable, generous, cour- 
ageous, and poetic character, excited great veneration for 
his memory, and gave rise to a sect, who declared that 
Mohammed was the prophet of God, and Ali was the vice- 
gerent of God. He, and the twelve Imans who succeeded 
him were believed to be inspired 7 and their sayings were 
invested with sacred authority. These followers of Ali 
rejected the Sonna, and collected another book of tra- 
ditions called the" Hyat ul Kuloob. The two volumes 
have many traditions in common ; but Ali, Fatima, and 
their children are peculiarly glorified in the Hyat ul 
Kuloob. In the Koran, Mohammed repeatedly disclaims 
the power to work any other miracle than writing that 
sacred volume ; but innumerable wonders are related of 
him in both the books of traditions. It is therein stated 
that his mother Aminah, previous to his birth was con- 
tinually hearing benedictions pronounced upon her, from 
air, earth, and heaven. She told her husband Abdallah 
these prodigies, and he charged her to keep the matter 
secret. When her babe was born, a light beamed from his 
head, birds surrounded her, and a radiant angel took him 
in his arms, and made a mark between the shoulders with 
his signet ring ; saying : " My Lord hath commanded me 
to breathe into thee the Holy Spirit. Blessed are they 
who obey thee, and woe unto those that oppose thee." 
Every idol in the Caaba fell on its face, as soon as he came 
into the world ; and Lake Savah, which had been an ob- 
ject of worship, disappeared and became a salt plain. 
Sacred fires, which had not been extinguished for a thou- 
sand years, were quenched that night. The skill of sooth- 
sayers and magicians departed. Satan shrieked, and his 
infernal children drew near to inquire what new curse had 
fallen upon them. " Woe to you !" he cried. " Some great 


event has happened on earth unparalleled since Jesus as- 
cended to heaven. Fly, to discover what it is!" In an- 
swer to his inquiries, Gabriel told him that Mohammed, 
the best of the prophets, was born, who would require men 
to worship God in the unity of his being. "Whereupon, 
" the whole infernal crew cast the dust of degradation on 
their heads, and fled to the fourth sea, where they wept 
forty days." " The whole earth was illuminated that 
night. Every stone, and clod, and tree laughed for joy. 
All things in heaven and earth uttered praises to God." 
There was a monstrous fish called Tamoosa; probably 
another version of the Hebrew leviathan. He had seven 
hundred thousand tails. The same number of bullocks, 
each one larger than this world, walked up and down on 
his back; but, on account of the immensity of his size 
and strength, he was entirely unconscious of it. This 
huge creature, when he knew Mohammed was born, was 
" so agitated with joy, that if the Most High had not quieted 
him, he would surely have overturned the world." As 
soon as the wonderful babe came into the world, he pros- 
trated himself in an attitude of worship ; " with his lu- 
minous forehead on the floor, and his fore-finger pointing 
to heaven, while he pronounces, There is no God but 
Allah." " From his birth to his death, he was free from 
all sins, great and small, both of design and ignorance, and 
from all error." Jewish Eabbis declared that God created 
the world solely for the children of Israel, and on account 
of the merits of Moses. Moslems say the head and heart 
of Adam were formed from the sacred soil of Mecca and 
Medina ; that God revealed to him the coming of Moham- 
med in the latter time, and said : " By my glory, I have 
created thee, and the whole world, only for his sake." 
When Eve was made, all the angels, and all the animals 
in Paradise, exclaimed : " Hail ye parents of Mohammed I" 
The Traditions represent Mohammed as saying: "lam 
Lord of all those who have been sent by God. This is no 
boast in me." " He who has seen me has seen God." 
" He who obeys me obeys God ; and he who sins against 
Vol. Ill,— 34 


me sins against God." When unbelievers required that 
he should prove his divine mission, by performing such 
miracles as Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus did, he an- 
swered, My miracle is the Koran. I should not dare to 
receive such verses from God, and then ask him to confirm 
their inspiration by another miracle. Moreover, if I 
should invoke miracles, and you should still remain un- 
believing, they would bring judgments upon you." At 
this juncture, Gabriel appeared and said to Mohammed : 
" The Most High sends you salutation, and declares that 
he will manifest whatever miracles they require to prove 
your prophetical office ; though after they have witnessed 
them they will still remain in unbelief." His enemies de- 
manded that the moon, which was then full, should be 
divided into halves. The prophet raised his hand toward 
heaven, saying, " Moon, part in twain !" and it was im- 
mediately done. He was then asked to restore the moon 
to its former state, and it was forthwith accomplished. 
The miracle was performed at Medina, but the prodigies 
were seen at Mecca, and by travellers on their way from 
Syria. Ebn Masood swore that the different portions of 
the moon separated so far asunder, that he saw Mount 
Hera between them. " When everything round Medina 
was perishing from drought, he raised his blessed hand to 
heaven, and prayed for mercy on the people ; and before 
he moved from his place, the rain fell in torrents." " A 
man had his foot cut off in battle ; but when Mohammed 
applied some of his saliva, and joined it to the leg, the 
limb was at once restored to its former condition." " He 
was sent for to visit the son of a blind woman, and found 
him dead ; but as soon as he removed the cloth from his 
face, the young man. rose up and ate." " Once when he 
was travelling through the wilderness asleep, a lote tree 
which stood in his path, parted asunder for his camel to 
pass through." It still remains in that state, and is called 
The Prophet's Tree. People bind its leaves on sheep and 
camels to protect them from harm. These Sacred Tra- 
ditions declare that the moon rocked Mohammed, and no 


insect ever lighted on him ; that every tree bowed when 
he passed, and every rock saluted him ; that his forehead 
was so luminous, it caused a reflection on the walls of the 
house, like moonlight ; that at night his steps were guided 
by the light which radiated from his fingers ; that his body 
cast no shadow in the sunshine; that he saw behind as 
well as before; heard when he was asleep as well as 
awake ; and knew what was concealed in the hearts of 

The story of the midnight journey to heaven is so 
vaguely described in the Koran, that some commentators 
think it was merely a dream, given for instruction. But 
both the Books of Traditions amplify it greatly, and de- 
clare that it was performed when the Prophet was wide 
awake, and that he was literally conveyed in the body, on 
a steed sent from Paradise. In that blessed region, he saw 
angels building palaces of gold, silver, and ruby blocks, 
cemented with the soil, which was pure musk. Sometimes 
they stopped, and being asked the reason, said they waited 
to have expenses paid : which they explained by saying 
that whenever true believers on earth exclaimed: " There 
is no God but Allah ! Praise be to Allah I" their work 
went on ; but when the voice of prayer ceased, they were 
obliged to pause. Mohammed declared that the greater 
part of the inhabitants of Paradise were those who had 
been poor in this world ; and that the gates were opened 
for them five hundred years sooner than for the rich. On 
the banks of celestial river she saw palaces prepared for 
himself and his family, and his " pure women." In the 
midst was the Tree of Happiness, of such immense size 
that a bird could not fly round the trunk in seven hundred 
years. Its branches, laden with fruit, and with baskets 
full of silken garments, extended to every true believer. 
From its roots flowed four rivers ; water, milk, wine, and 
honey. He also looked down into the hells, and saw 
devils tearing sinners with red-hot pincers, and pouring 
fire down their throats. The greater part of the tor- 
mented were women, suffering in one form or another for 


Laving been disobedient to their husbands. One was 
hung up by her hair, her brain boiling with excessive 
heat, because she had not concealed her beautiful tresses 
from the view of men. In the first heaven, he was intro- 
duced to Ishmael, who exclaimed r "Hail worthy brother 
and prophet V and all the angels laughed with joy. In 
the second, John the Baptist and Jesus welcomed him 
as worthy brother and prophet. In the sixth, Moses 
saluted him, saying : " The children of Israel think I am 
dearest to the Most High : but this man is dearer than I 
am." In the seventh, Abraham blessed him as a worthy 
son and prophet. Beyond that no angel or archangel was 
allowed to go. But Mohammed left his companion Ga- 
briel, and ascended to the throne of the Most High, who 
placed his hand upon his shoulder, and promised to grant 
everything he might ask for himself or his followers. 

The Hyab ul Kuloob is full of glorifications of Ali and 
his family. It is therein stated that Abraham, Moses r 
Jesus, and all the archangel's inquired so particularly after 
Ali that Mohammed began to think his cousin was better 
known in Paradise than he was himself. The Angel of 
Death told him it was his office to take away the soul of 
every human being, except his and Ali r s; but the Most 
High himself would take theirs away. The Prophet is 
represented as declaring that himself and his daughter 
Fatima, and her husband Ali, and their sons Hasan and 
Husayn, were created ages before earth or heaven. When 
asked how their existence commenced, he replied : " God 
first uttered a word r and that word took the form of Light. 
He uttered another word, which became Spirit. He then 
tempered the light with the spirit, and formed me and 
Fatima, and Ali, and Hasan and Husayn. We ascribed 
praise to God, when there was no other existence to give 
him glory. God afterward expanded my light, and formed 
the empyrean; which, being created of my light, I am 
more excellent than the empyrean. He next expanded 
the light of Ali, and formed angels ; therefore, he is supe- 
rior to them. From the light of Fatima, he formed the 


heavens and the earth ; which are consequently inferior to 
her. He expanded the light of Hasan to form the sun and 
moon ; so that he is superior to them. From the light of 
Husayn was formed Paradise and the Hoories ; therefore 
he is more excellent than they." According to these tra- 
ditions he told Ali that after his corpse was washed and 
perfumed, it would answer any questions he might ask. 
Accordingly " he taught Ali a thousand chapters of know- 
ledge, from each of which a thousand more opened ; and 
from these he learned all that would happen until the 
judgment day." Ali was also enabled to hear all that 
angels were saying to the spirit of Mohammed. It is said 
that angels were never sent down to the earth to announce 
the birth of any prophet, except Jesus and Mohammed ; 
and that the pavilions of Paradise were never pitched for 
any woman but the Virgin Mary and Aminah. On the 
day that the Prophet was married to Kbadeejah, all the 
angels sang a hymn of thanksgiving, and the Most High 
ordered Gabriel to go down and plant a banner of praise 
on the dome of the Caaba. Afterward, whenever he 
brought a message to Mohammed, he always left a respect- 
ful salutation for her. On one of these occasions, he stated 
that a palace built of precious stones had been prepared for 
her in Paradise. 

The amours of the Prophet are described with Asiatic 
plainness on such subjects ; and the joys of Paradise are 
much more minutely and glowingly painted than they are 
in the Koran. The gigantic Tree is described as hung with 
millions of baskets, each containing a thousand changes of 
garments of the richest silks and brocades. Beautiful 
damsels, called Hoories, are formed of the pure musk of 
Paradise. Their large dark eyes are full of melting ten- 
derness, and they are so modest that they always remain 
hidden from public view in pavilions of pearl. Their 
bodies are so radiant, that they shine through seventy gar- 
ments. If one of them were suspended between the sun 
and the earth, mortals would be willing to spare the orb 
of day. When true believers enter Paradise, they will be 
Vol. III.— 34* 

402 ;'k 01 RELIGIOUS IDEAft, 

as tall as Adam, who was sixty cubits high. They will be 
endowed with the beauty of Joseph, the perfection of Jesus, 
and the eloquence of Mohammed. At each meal, they 
will be served with three hundred different kinds of food, 
on plates of gold. Bells hanging on the Tree of Happi- 
ness will be set in motion by breezes from God's throne, as 
often as they desire music. All their capacities for enjoy- 
ment will be a hundred fold greater than they were in this 
life. Each one will have a hareem of seven thousand 
Hoories, and eleven thousand women ; the most perfect of 
whom are more beautiful than the Hoories. When Saduk, 
one of the twelve inspired Imams, was asked whether a 
husband and wife, who were true believers, would resume 
the matrimonial bond in another world, he replied, that if 
the man was superior to the woman in excellence, he would 
decide whether she should be of the number of his wives 
or not ; but if the woman was more excellent, she would 
choose whether or not she would have him for a husband. 

Some of the traditional sayings of Mohammed have 
great moral excellence. The following, for example: "All 
the sons of Adam are equal, like the teeth of a comb. One 
has no preeminence over another, except that which is 
imparted by a religious life." " Every good act is charity. 
Giving water to the thirsty is charity. Putting a wanderer 
in the right path is charity. Kemoving stones and thorns 
from the road is charity. Exhorting your fellow men to 
virtuous deeds is charity. Smiling in your brother's face 
is charity. A man's true wealth hereafter is the good he 
does 'in this world. When he dies, mortals will ask what 
property he left behind him ; but angels will inquire of 
him : ' What good deeds hast thou sent before thee ?' " 
An aged woman and an African convert were once very 
much troubled, because he told them there were no old 
women in Paradise, and no black people ; but they were 
comforted by his afterward explaining that all the good 
became eternally young and fair when they left this world. 

It is related of his grandson, Hasan, that a slave who 
upset on him a dish of boiling hot food, fell on his knees 


in great fear, and repeated from the Koran : " Paradise is 
for those who bridle their anger." Hasan answered : "I 
am not angry.*' "And for those who forgive men," con- 
tinued the slave. "I forgive you," was the mild response. 
The culprit finished the sacred sentence, by repeating: 
"For God loveth the beneficent." The master replied: 
"I give you your freedom, and four hundred pieces of 

Sects. — Mohammed declared that revelations from God 
to man would cease with him ; and he commanded that 
any one should be put to death who afterward claimed to 
be a prophet. He predicted that many such would arise, 
and that his followers would divide into many sects. It 
happened as he had very naturally foreseen. After his 
death, there were many who professed to be inspired mes- 
sengers, and strove hard to equal his power over the minds 
of men. One said he was Moses returned in the flesh ; 
another that he was John the Baptist. Their contending 
claims produced a great deal of disturbance and bloodshed. 
Several of the tribes manifested a strong tendency to return 
to idolatry ; and considerable time elapsed before they 
were all united in one faith. After their power was con- 
solidated, they divided into various sects. The first great 
division arose from political as well as religious causes. 
Those who asserted that Ali was the only legitimate suc- 
cessor of Mohammed, denied the authority of the caliphs 
who preceded him. To the simple creed, " There is no 
God but Allah, and Mohammed is the prophet of God ;" 
they added "and Ali is the vicegerent of God." They 
reject the Sonna, and accuse their opponents of having 
expunged from the Koran many sentences favourable to 
the claims of Ali. The Sonnites retort upon them the 
charge of altering the Koran, and of publishing fabulous 
traditions to glorify Ali and his family. They call them 
Shiites, or Sheahs, which signifies Heretics; a name by 
which they have become generally known to Europeans. 
Their theological doctrines are the same. But when the 


Sonnites perform ablution before prayers, they begin at the 
elbow and wash down to the fingers; whereas the Sheahs 
lii-iii at the tips of the fingers and wash upward to the 
elbow. This has given rise to very hot controversies; 
being considered a question of as much importance as 
sprinkling and immersion among Christians. The ani- 
mosity between these two sects is so great, that they con- 
sider it more meritorious to destroy each other, than to 
exterminate infidels. When Sheahs, on their pilgrimage 
to Mecca, pass through countries inhabited by Sonnites, 
they generally conform to their customs, and call them- 
selves by their name ; otherwise, scenes of violence and 
bloodshed occur continually. Both sects claim to be the 
only true interpreters of the Koran. Arabs, Turks, and 
Tartars are Sonnites. The Persians, and some East In- 
dians, are adherents of Ali. The hostility between Turks 
and Persians is mainly caused by this sectarian feud. The 
Sonnites are divided into many sects. The four prin- 
cipal differ concerning some matters of practice, but 
agree on points of faith ; therefore they do not deny to 
each other the possibility of salvation; which they all 
agree to do toward numerous minor sects deemed heret- 

There are seventy or eighty sects among the Sheahs. 
One small sect maintains that God was incarnated in the 
person of Ali ; these do not perform pilgrimages to Mecca, 
but to Meschid, where Ali was buried ; they neglect many 
of the purifications and fasts observed by orthodox Moham- 
medans, have no buildings for public worship, and perform 
their religious ceremonies in a very simple way. One small 
sect in Syria believe in the transmigration of souls, have 
consecrated plants and animals, and introduce the sexual 
emblems of Hindostan into their worship. The head of 
ecclesiastical and civil affairs in Persia was called the 
Imam. All the sects of Sheahs believe that Ali, and the 
twelve Imams who succeeded him, were directly inspired 
by God ; therefore their decisions were to be accepted as 
permanent rules of life. Some asserted that the essence 


of God was incarnated in all of them. The last of these 
Imams was peculiarly celebrated for his sanctity, and was 
called Mahedi, which signifies The Guide. He retired to 
a cave near Bagdad, and the time and place of his death 
were unknown. This gave rise to a belief, still entertained 
by many, that he is living, and will appear in the last days, 
to establish the faith of Islam throughout the world. At 
different periods, a number of prophets have arisen claim- 
ing to be this Mohammedan Messiah. 

A book called the Gospel of Barnabas is in great repute 
among them. It is supposed to be one of the Apocryphal 
Gospels, used by the Eastern churches, translated and mo- 
dified by some Christian, who became a Moslem. It rep- 
resents Christ as foretelling that God would send a prophet 
by the name of Mohammed, to perfect the dispensation he 
had brought to men. It declares that an unbelieving Jew, 
while watching Jesus to prevent his escape, was suddenly 
transformed into such an exact likeness of him, that even 
the Virgin Mary herself was deceived. This man was 
crucified, and Christ was taken up into heaven alive. But 
seeing his mother and his disciples so overwhelmed with 
grief, he appeared to them, and told them the stratagem 
God had devised. He foretold that a prophet greater than 
himself, named Mohammed, would be sent to lead men 
into the truth. He also promised to appear on earth again 
in the last days, and destroy a false prophet named Dejal 
and a wild boar that would devastate the earth. He would 
burn the Christian Gospels, which ungodly priests had 
falsified, and the crosses they worshipped as gods, and help 
to subject the whole earth to Mohammed. In consequence 
of this communication, the Virgin Mary lived and died in 
the faith of Islam. It is the universal belief that when 
Mahedi appears, Jesus will come to his assistance ; that he 
will perform his devotions in the mosque, will exterminate 
the Jews who rejected him, and the Christians who wor- 
shipped him as God ; that he will marry and have chil- 
dren, and remain on the earth forty years, during which 
there will be universal peace and plenty. In the royal 


stable at Ispahan, two horses were always kept saddled ; 
one for the use of Mahedi, the other for Jesus. 

The idea of atonement for sin, by any kind of sacrifice, 
forms no part of the system of Mohammed ; it being one 
of his favourite maxims that "a man cannot die for his 
neighbour." But in general, questions which excite con- 
troversy elsewhere have caused disputes among his follow- 
ers. Some deny the personality of God ; others affirm that 
he is in the likeness of a man. Mohammed said : " The 
heart of a believer is between the fingers of The Merciful." 
Some say that a preacher who should stretch forth his 
finger while he read that text would deserve to have it cut 
off; because he might thereby convey the idea that God 
had fingers. The doctrine of predestination is fully be- 
lieved by orthodox sects. But it shocks the minds of 
many, who draw from it an inference that God is the au- 
thor of evil ; and this they are so reluctant to admit, that 
they are not even willing to say He created infidels. Out 
of this question has arisen much discussion whether the 
doctrine that infants are foredoomed to eternal punishment 
can be reconciled with the justice and mercy of God. The 
comparative importance of faith and works is another divi- 
ding topic. Some maintain that if a true believer in Mo- 
hammed commits a crime and dies without repentance, he 
must surely be damned to all eternity ; though his punish- 
ment will be lighter than that of an infidel who commits 
the same crime. This is regarded as impious doctrine by 
the orthodox, who say God forgives everything but infi- 
delity. Some sects maintain that this world will never be 
destroyed, and that there is no other heaven or hell. It 
is generally supposed that departed souls are waiting in 
some intermediate state, not very clearly defined. Some 
think they are with Adam in the lower heaven, because 
when the Prophet made his miraculous Night Journey, he 
said he saw souls destined to heaven on Adam's right 
hand, and those destined to hell on his left. The prevail- 
ing faith is that bodies will rise at the day of resurrection, 
and souls will be re-united with them. But some, who 


think man is merely a corporeal being, say the body only 
will rise; others believe the resurrection will be purely 
spiritual. The orthodox belief is that the Koran is the 
uncreated "Word of God, and existed in his essence from 
all eternity. Some sects reject this doctrine, because it 
conveys to their minds the idea of two eternal beings. 
They are denounced as infidels, and in their turn denounce 
their opponents as idolaters. Men were scourged, impris- 
oned, and even put to death, for opinions on this point ; 
until at last a law was passed allowing them to judge for 
themselves on the subject. Old theological ideas being 
strictly guarded by penal laws, as well as by habits of rev- 
erence, progressive minds found themselves in straitened 
circumstances; and, as usual, they made for themselves 
two doors of escape from inconvenient limitation. One 
class resorted to allegorical interpretation of the Koran ; 
styling it half man and half beast, in reference to the spirit 
and the letter. Some scholars who had become enamoured 
with Aristotle, made use of metaphysical and logical sub- 
tleties to explain the literal sense. This mode, called Al 
Calam, or Science of Keason, excited strong abhorrence in 
orthodox minds. They said whoever resorted to this mode 
of interpretation ought to be impaled ; while a public crier 
proclaimed through the streets: "This is the reward of 
those who forsake the Koran, and the Sacred Traditions, 
to follow the Science of Keason." A school of mysticism 
also arose among the Mohammedans, and took forms simi- 
lar to the Hindoo and Platonic ideas. The complete union 
of the soul with Grod, and intuitive perceptions of divine 
things, thence derived, is taught by some as the highest 
wisdom and happiness. They convey this idea in glowing 
allegories concerning love and intoxication, which, like 
some Hindoo devotional writings, seem sensual to those 
who perceive only the external sense ; but the initiated 
find in them an interior meaning. Their very dances have 
mystical significance ; as is the case with the dance conse- 
crated to the memory of Crishna. They carry about with 
ithem a small mirror as a religious symbol ; which also was 


a custom among Egyptians, when tliey celebrated the Mys- 
teries of Isis. This contemplative and mystical tendency 
of mind began to manifest itself decidedly among Moham- 
medans little more than a century after the Llcgira, and 
has continually gained ground unto this day, especially 
among the superior class of minds in Persia. They be- 
came a distinct sect, known under the name of Sufis; 
which some learned men derive from the Arabic word 
Safi, meaning Pure ; others from the Greek word Sophi, 
signifying Wise. Their saints believe that they receive 
immediate communications of truth from heaven into the 
interior of their minds, when they are completely abstracted 
from all earthly cares and wishes. They say it is mys- 
teriously transmitted through the medium of Abubeker or 
Ali. But their doctrines are obviously of Hindoo origin, 
and bear no resemblance to the teachings of the Koran. 
Pantheism soon mingled with their system. Mohammed 
declared that God was not in anything, nor was anything 
in God ; but devout Sufis believe they have become one 
with God ; which Hindoos call absorption in Brahm. One 
of the Mohammedan poets says : "lam the world's soul." 
But these views are generally expressed in veiled language, 
lest they should give rise to a charge of blasphemy. One 
of their teachers, named Hosein al Hallaj, was put to death 
for making himself equal with God, by saying : " I am the 
Truth." Complete subjugation of the senses was of course 
intimately connected with this idea of mystical union with 
Deity. Hence the Sufis early formed monastic fraterni- 
ties, which adopted very ascetic modes of life. It was the 
natural growth of the same foreign element which had 
been grafted upon Christianity, and produced monkism. 
Mohammed disapproved of celibacy, and declared he would 
have no monks in his religion. But three hundred years 
after the Hegira, Islam began to swarm with a class of men 
called Dervises, whose habits are very similar to Hindoo 
Fakirs, and Mendicant Monks. There are thirty-two reli- 
gious orders of that kind in the Turkish empire ; others in 
Persia and India. These Mohammedan monks have great 


reputation for miraculous power obtained by superior sanc- 
tity. People apply to them to interpret dreams, cure dis- 
eases, pray for the birth of children, for rain, harvests, and 
other blessings. People of the highest rank receive them 
at their tables, and the Imams are generally selected from 
their communities. The rosaries used by Dervises consist 
of ninety-nine beads, usually made of holy earth from 
Mecca or Medina. They pass these through their ringers 
at prayer, while they recount the ninety-nine qualities of 
God mentioned in the Koran. 

A follower of Mohammed always calls himself a Mos- 
lem, which signifies a Believer. From the plural of this 
the European word Musulman is formed. All sects en- 
tertain the greatest reverence for Mohammed. All their 
writings commence with a benediction on his name. They 
call him " The Lawgiver, The Prince of Men, Last and 
Best of the Prophets, The Most Noble of Apostles, The 
Kefuge of Eevelation, The Sanctified One, The Most Per- 
fect of Created Beings, The Beloved of the Lord." They 
universally believe him to be the Prophet predicted by 
Moses, and the Comforter whom Jesus promised to send. 
They adduce passages from Apocryphal Gospels and from 
our Scriptures to prove it, and say that other texts, containing 
more positive evidence, have been fraudulently suppressed 
by Christians. The Crescent is the adopted emblem of 
their religion, because the new moon lighted him in his 
flight from Mecca. The country around that city swarms 
with pigeons, which they never kill, lest they should de- 
stroy some descendant of the sacred bird, sent by God to 
build a nest at the mouth of the cave where he was con- 
cealed. They have a similar feeling concerning spiders, 
because a spider spun a web across the entrance. Moham- 
med emancipated Zaid for believing in his mission; there- 
fore, no Mohammedan ever holds a person of his own faith 
in slavery. The ancient fast of Ramadam is rendered still 
more holy by being associated with the first revelations he 
received from Heaven. During the entire month, they 
taste no food or drink between sunrise and sunset. They 
Vol. III.— 35 s 


abjure baths and perfumes, and shun the sight of women. 
The fast is rendered void by inhaling the mere smell of 
food ; and some are so strict, they will not even swallow 
the moisture in their mouths. As they reckon their 
months by moons, the fast is moveable. When it occurs 
at the sultry season of the year, the pious, especially those 
who labour, often suffer very severely. Their teachers in- 
culcate that fasting, to be of any avail, must include absti- 
nence from worldly cares, evil thoughts, and impure ideas. 
Many of the old opinions and customs were transferred 
to the new religion ; that being an invariable compromise 
between the conservative and progressive tendencies of 
man. The Caaba lost none of its sacredness. There is a 
tradition that Mohammed said those who died without 
visiting it might as well have died Jews or Christians. 
The poorest Moslems often make great sacrifices to visit 
Mecca once in their lives; and some go annually. On 
their way, they almost invariably turn aside to visit the 
tomb of their Prophet at Medina. Eeverence for his 
memory is reflected on all his descendants. The sover- 
eignty of Mecca and guardianship of the Caaba is still 
entrusted to them, and they take rank above princes. In 
the lapse of centuries, they have become numerous, but 
they all have honorary titles, take the highest seat in 
company, receive a stipend from the public treasury, and 
are distinguished by a turban or girdle of green, which is 
a sacred colour. 

Any system of religion or morals which did not profess 
to be founded on the Koran would be taught at the peril 
of life. All the sects study it in the light of either the 
Sonnite or the Sheah Book of Traditions. In case of pal- 
pable contradictions, they say if a passage is not true in 
one aspect it is in another, and that God can easily reconcile 
what seems incongruous to the human mind. Some few 
venture to declare that they receive only such traditions as 
can be reconciled with reason ; but such are regarded with 
horror by orthodox believers. 

The fundamental doctrines in which all agree are, that 


God is One ; that it is impious to divide his personality, or 
to associate any other being with his worship ; and that 
Mohammed is the last and best of all the prophets He has 
sent. Mohammedans adopt the old Persian ideas concern- 
ing Angels with ethereal bodies formed of celestial fire. 
Each of the seven departments of Paradise is governed by 
one of these radiant beings. They appoint others to various 
offices ; thus Gabriel is always sent with revelations ; Az- 
rael separates the souls and bodies of mortals at death; 
and Israfil will sound the trumpet to summon bodies from 
their graves, at the resurrection. Like the Persians and 
other ancient nations, they believe that every human being 
has two attendant angels from birth to death. One on his 
right hand notes down his good actions, and the other, on 
his left, records his evil deeds. The kindly angel has 
control over the other. When man does a good deed he 
writes it down, with delight, ten times ; but when he com- 
mits any wickedness, he says to the angel on the left hand : 
" Wait seven hours before you write it down. Perhaps he 
may repent, and ask forgiveness." They say the dead are 
visited in their graves by two dark angels, who cause them 
to sit upright, while they question them concerning the 
unity of God and the mission of Mohammed. If their 
answers are satisfactory, they are left in peace to be re- 
freshed by breezes from Paradise. Otherwise, they beat 
them with iron maces, and leave them to be stung by 
ninety-nine serpents, with seven heads each. This is be- 
lieved so literally by many people, that it is a general cus- 
tom to build tombs in such a manner that the dead can 
easily sit upright. Some sects reject the account altogether; 
others understand it allegorically ; saying the serpents 
represent remorse for sins. The good and evil words and 
deeds of men, as recorded by their attendant Spirits, are said 
to be given to Gabriel, who weighs them in a balance, and 
dismisses souls to heaven or hell according to their merits. 
All are obliged to pass over a bridge called Al Sirat, " fine 
as the thread of a famished spider," with an edge sharp as 
a scimitar. Beneath this bridge roar the flames of hell, 


and beyond it are the regions of Paradise. True believers 
are conveyed across like a flash of lightning; some will 
pass with difficulty ; and others will slip into hell. Those 
who delight in spiritual interpretation, say this hair-breadth 
bridge signifies the narrow and difficult path of piety in 
this world. Some who are not good enough to pass directly 
into Paradise, are supposed to remain in a place partitioned 
off, until by acts of adoration they have more than balanced 
the evil they have done, or the worship they have omit- 
ted. He who has wronged another will be obliged to make 
over to the account of the injured party a proportionate 
quantity of his own good works. If he has no such trea- 
sury to draw upon, he must be accountable for an equal 
share of the sins of his victim. Moslems may have to wait 
in some place of expiation from nine hundred to seven 
thousand years, according to their degrees of guilt. But 
because they have believed in the true faith, they will all 
finally attain to Paradise, by help of their own prayers, and 
the continual intercession of Mohammed. Hindoos and 
Persians believed in seven ascending spheres of light and 
happiness, above which dwelt the Supreme ; and in seven 
descending spheres of darkness and suffering. Mohammed 
also taught that there were seven hells. Commentators 
say the first is for sinful Moslems ; the next is for Chris- 
tians; the third for Jews; the fourth for Sabians and 
Fire- Worshippers ; the sixth for all those who worship a 
plurality of gods, and have no Sacred Books ; the seventh 
and deepest is reserved for hypocrites of all religions. All 
who disbelieve in Mohammed will be punished eternally, 
in degrees proportioned to their obstinacy in rejecting him. 
The tortures described are of various kinds. Excessive 
hunger and thirst, intolerable stench, stinging serpents, 
roasting over intense flames, and being shod with shoes of 
fire, which will make the brains boil. In Paradise all that 
delighted the soul or senses of man in this world will be 
increased and refined beyond human imagination. These 
joys are progressively multiplied and rendered more in- 
tense in the ascending regions of Paradise. Only martyrs 


and great saints will attain to the pure spiritual bliss of 
daily communion with God which far transcends all other 
enjoyment. In the seventh and highest Paradise is the 
palace of Mohammed, and the Tree of Happiness. Imme- 
diately above this is the throne of the Most High. 

On the subject of marriage and the forgiveness of in- 
juries, the moral tone of Mohammedans is far below that 
of Christians. But they manifest more sincerity and ear- 
nestness in acting up to their standard. All travellers 
agree that they are remarkably characterized by honesty 
in their dealings ; insomuch that at a distance from cities, 
it is a common custom to leave shops open without any 
person to tend them. Purchasers go in and take what 
goods they want, and leave on the counter the price marked 
on them. Exceeding liberality to the poor is another ad- 
mirable trait ; and in no Christian country are the chains 
of slavery so light, or so easily removed. The total absti- 
nence from all intoxicating drink commanded by the 
Koran, is not unfrequently disobeyed; but devout be- 
lievers never taste such liquors ; they will neither buy nor 
sell them ; nor will they consent to be supported with 
money obtained by such traffic. The estimate of women 
is very much lower than in Christian countries, but it is a 
mistake that they suppose them to have no souls. The 
Koran, and the Books of Traditions frequently allude to 
them as sharing the punishments of hell and the joys of 
Paradise. The majority of the people do not avail them- 
selves of the license to marry four wives. The general 
tendency is to have but one. Friday, the ancient "Day 
of Assembly" among the Arabians, is the Mohammedan 
holy day. All go to the mosques to attend religious ser- 
vices, and when they have performed their devotions, they 
return to their customary business. They say creation was 
finished, and the resurrection will take place on that day. 
They call it the Prince of Days, and consider themselves 
peculiarly honoured, that God granted them the privilege 
of being the first to observe it. Some of the very strict 
consider it wrong to attend to worldlv business during any 
Vol. III.— 35* 


portion of the day. They have no priesthood. Reputable 
and learned men are appointed to read and explain the 
Koran and prayers, at prescribed seasons. The principal 
interpreter of the Koran, to whose decision doubtful ques- 
tions are referred, is called the Imam in Persia, and the 
Grand Mufti in Turkey. They never make use of bells, 
but in every town a public crier, called Muezzin, summons 
the people to prayer, by proclaiming from the minarets or 
steeples of the mosques : " God is great ! To prayer ! To 
prayer I" This is repeated in a sort of chant consisting of 
a few simple tones, and travellers describe it as producing 
a very solemn effect. Though this is repeated five times a 
day, every conscientious Moslem, as soon as he hears it, 
washes himself and goes to the mosque to repeat a prayer. 
If that is inconvenient, he spreads a cloth, turns his face 
toward Mecca, and prostrates himself in the house, the 
workshop, or the street, wherever he may happen to be ; 
for their Prophet said : " The whole world is a place of 
prayer." At day-break, the Muezzin reminds all the peo- 
ple that prayer is better than sleep, and at noon he tells 
them it is more salutary than food. They are as strict as 
the ancient Hindoos and Persians in performing ablution 
before worship. The spiritual class of commentators re- 
mind them that the requisite purification includes expung- 
ing evil thoughts from the mind, as well as cleansing the 
body from pollution. The Koran forbids believers ever 
to declare the intention of doing anything without first 
saying: "If it pleases God." To each chapter of the 
Koran is prefixed: "In the name of the most Merciful 
God ;" and all Mohammedan books and writings copy this 
example. When they took the Sacred Books of Jews 
and Christians among the spoils of war, they never com- 
mitted them to the flames; because they consider it impious 
to destroy anything on which the name of God is written. 
Omar, who ruled about twelve years after the Hegira, sent 
armies into various countries to extend the faith. There 
is a story that when Alexandria was taken, a question 
arose whether the royal library might be spared; and 


Omar replied: "The Koran contains all that is necessary; 
therefore, if those books agree with it, they are not needed ; 
and if they contain anything contrary to it, they ought to 
be destroyed." It is said they were used to kindle fires in 
the baths, and that it took six months to destroy them. 
The Alexandrian Library had been pillaged by Christians, 
in the time of Theodosius, so that the shelves were left 
entirely empty. How so many volumes were afterward col- 
lected is not accounted for; and the story concerning Omar 
has latterly been much doubted. 

Their places of worship called mosques are held in great 
reverence. There is always a fountain near by in which 
they wash before they enter. They take off their slippers, 
and ornaments, deeming it more reverent to the deity to 
enter his presence in plain apparel. Women say their 
prayers at home; it being supposed that their presence 
would tend to disturb a devotional frame of mind. Reli- 
gious observances mingle with all the affairs of life. 
"There is no God but Allah" is constantly heard from 
Moslem lips; even when they answer the watchmen, 
they add "Allah Akbar," " God is Great." Of course the 
same inconsistencies occur among them, as among Chris- 
tians. Constantine and Clovis prayed diligently and built 
churches, while they murdered sons and relatives. Au- 
rungzebe murdered his father and brothers, and erected a 
magnificent mosque at Delhi in token of gratitude to Allah 
for success in the civil war. " He acted as High Priest at 
the consecration, and was in the habit of worshipping there 
in the humble dress of a Fakeer. He raised one hand to 
God, while with the other he signed warrants for the death 
of his nearest relatives." 

The mosques are generally in the Moorish style of archi- 
tecture, surmounted with crescent-crowned minarets, which 
have a light and elegant appearance, and are often richly 
ornamented. A quadrangular area, sometimes of very 
great extent, is enclosed by files of columns, supporting 
double rows of galleries. They contain no altars, images, 
' paintings, or seats, except a chair for the Imam. In the 


direction of Mecca there is always an alcove called the 
Kebla, that worshippers may turn toward the sacred city, 
when they prostrate themselves in prayer. A good deal 
is expended on lamps, which form almost the only orna- 
ment of the interior, except sentences of* the Koran inlaid 
in the walls, with mother-of-pearl, or other beautiful sub- 
stances, and often richly emblazoned. Like the Jews, they 
never allow people of other religions to pass beyond the 
outer enclosure of their places of worship. One of their 
most magnificent mosques was erected on the site of Solo- 
mon's temple, after they took possession of Jerusalem, 
which they visit as a holy city, next in importance to 
Mecca and Medina. In the heart of Mecca is a large area 
enclosed with columns and galleries, including several 
small chapels, and the ancient Caaba in the centre. The 
roof is covered with black damask embroidered with gold ; 
an offering annually sent by the Sultan of Turkey. It is 
sustained by a double file of columns, with rows of silver 
lamps, quaintly ornamented, suspended between them in 
festoons. Within the Caaba is the celebrated black stone. 
Some suppose it was an aerolite, and thus acquired the 
reputation of having fallen from heaven. It is set in silver 
now, and devoutly kissed by every pilgrim. It is supposed 
that at the resurrection it will return to the angelic form 
it originally had, and will bear testimony in favour of all 
who have touched it in their pilgrimage. This sacred 
enclosure also contains Hagar's Fountain, now called Zem 
Zem; and a white stone believed to mark the grave of 
Ishmael, which receives water from the roof by a golden 

Until recently, Christian writers have generally mani- 
fested a very uncandid spirit toward Mohammedans. They 
said pigeons were sacred at Mecca because the Prophet put 
grains of wheat into his ear, and trained a pigeon to pick 
them out; pretending that it was the Holy Spirit whisper- 
ins: to him in the form of a dove. This, and several other 
similar stories, are now acknowledged to be false. 

Moslems have an insurmountable prejudice against mar- 


rying with uncircumcised families ; but they inherit their 
Prophet's animosity to the Jews, whom they regard with 
much more aversion than they do Christians. In conside- 
ration of their being believers in a Sacred Book; both 
classes are allowed to retain their own places of worship 
in countries conquered by Mohammedans, provided they 
pay tribute, ring no bells, make no attempts at proselyting, 
and do nothing to prevent their relatives from becoming 
true believers. Contracts with them are subject to the 
same laws that regulate the business-intercourse between 
Moslems ; but no promise or oath is binding, if made to 
people who do not believe in a Sacred Book. The testi- 
mony of Christians is not received against a Moslem, they 
are not allowed to compete with them in their style of 
living, and in the street, they must make way for the mean- 
est follower of the Prophet. A more kindly state of feel- 
ing begins to manifest itself between the rival religions. 
Christian writers have become more candid ; and the Sul- 
tan of Turkey many years ago passed a law forbidding his 
subjects to continue their practice of calling Christians dogs. 
They both derive so much from Jewish fountains, that 
Lessing calls them " Two litigating sons of the same father." 
The extension of Mohammedanism, though occasionally 
checked, has gradually increased ever since the Hegira. 
Its professors are now estimated at one hundred and eighty 
millions ; nearly one-fifth of the whole human race. 



"The word unto the Prophet spoken 
Was writ on tablets yet unbroken; 
The word by Seers or Sibyls told, 
In groves of oak, or fanes of gold, 
Still floats upon the morning wind, 
Still whispers to the willing mind. 
The heedless world hath never lost 
One accent of the Holy Ghost." 

R. W. Emerson. 

In reviewing the contents of the preceding pages, every 
reflecting mind must be struck with the fact that " there 
have been but few voices in the world, and many echoes." 
How the same questionings, the same hopes, the same aspi- 
rations, have continually reappeared, in expressions varied 
by the climates and the ages! The same gamut, with in- 
finite modifications of mode and time! In all ages and 
countries, the great souls of humanity have stood on the 
mountain peaks, alternately watching the clouds below, 
and the moonlight above, anxiously calling to each other : 
" Brethren, what of the night ?" And to each and all an 
answer has returned, varying in distinctness: "Lo, the 
morning cometh." 

If we would but look at the subject comprehensively, 
there is nothing in the history of man so interesting as the 
attempt to trace Infinite Wisdom making its way among 
the errors, the frailties, the passions, and the intense spiri- 
tual longings of finite souls. Everywhere the Divine Spirit 
takes form according to the capacity of reception. As this 
enlarges, old forms of thought and worship die, and the 
Spirit enters into new ones, which the previous growth has 
prepared. Thus is the Word of God forever incarnated, 


and dwelleth among men. Therefore, the very nature of a 
Written Kevelation involves the necessity of ceasing to be 
adequate to the wants of society, sooner or later; for a 
Eevelation must necessarily be adapted to the then present 
state of the public mind, and consequently be, in some 
degree, a measure of that mind. If it were entirely above 
the comprehension of the epoch, it could not be a Eevela- 
tion. When it has done its destined work, and helped 
onward to a higher plane of perception, the soul begins to 
outgrow the Eevelation, and can no longer receive it as a 
sufficient standard. Declining faith in the external letter 
always produces a reaction. The reverential tendency of 
man strives to resuscitate decaying forms by the infusion 
of spiritual significance. Then come elaborate and far- 
fetched explanations and allegories, by means of which the 
new thought is found in the old words ; all of which is a 
patching and stretching of the worn-out garment, to make 
it cover the increasing stature. This habit of conservatism 
is wisely impressed upon our nature, to prevent abrupt and 
dangerous changes. But when the new garment is entirely 
prepared, the old one will drop off; and the attempt to 
stretch it merely cracks it in pieces. 

Such periods of the world's growth are always sad to 
souls which have devout feelings and a limited vision. 
They need to be reminded of what the Athenian philoso- 
pher said to his disciple: " He may bury my body; but let 
him not think he buries Socrates.' 1 '' No portion of truth 
ever did die, or ever can die. Its spirit is eternal, though 
its forms are ever changing. We cannot annul that law 
of our existence which forever makes the present a repro- 
duction of all that was real in the past. Only inher- 
ited customs, in which men merely seem to believe, trans- 
mit no life. Every genuine belief helps to form future 
modes of thought; however absurd and fantastic the 
form of belief may appear to the future that looks back 
upon it. 

Instead of considering our own religion the product of a 
gradual growth, to which the spiritual sunshine, air, and 


rain of previous centuries have contributed, it is the com- 
mon tendency to speak of it as a gift suddenly dropped 
down from Heaven, for a chosen few, and unlike anything 
the world had ever received. The beautiful Night-bloom- 
ing Cereus, with a pure light radiating from its deep cen- 
tre, seems to have no relationship with the long dry stem, 
and the little shaggy buds of tufted tow ; but the regal 
loveliness of the blossom could never have been produced, 
had not the long stem, and the uncouth bud, day after day, 
and month after month, conveyed to it nourishment from 
all the surrounding atmosphere. 

The same is true of the world's religious growth. Dreamy 
contemplations of devout mystics in the ancient forests of 
Hindostan ; the vague sublimity of Egyptian thought, born 
of vast deserts, and the solemn dimness of subterranean 
temples; the radiant army of Spirits, which illuminated 
the soul of the Persian, when with loving reverence he 
kissed his hand to the stars; Hebrew proneness to the 
supernatural, combined with the practical wisdom and 
equalizing system of Moses; moonlighted glimpses of the 
infinite, revealed to Plato ; the Gospel of love and forgive- 
ness preached by Jesus ; all these are fused into our pre- 
sent modes of thought. We are told that wise men came 
from far countries, and offered jewels to the infant Christ. 
Figuratively, it might signify how all the nations added 
some gems to his crown of righteousness. Jews brought 
their fixed idea of the unity of God, their abhorrence of 
idolatry, their habitual thoughtfulness for the poor. Gre- 
cians imparted their free spirit and intellectual culture, to 
protect spiritual growth from a narrow and binding fanati- 
cism. Romans brought their civil law, to restrain the sel- 
fishness of Christian proselytes, and help their imperfect 
sense of justice. Teutonic tribes brought their reverence 
for " the form containing woman," to aid the fulfilment of 
the prophecy, that there would be "neither male nor fe- 
male in Christ Jesus." Those who laid down these offer- 
ings at the feet of Christ, did it in reverence for his divine 
doctrines of complete forgiveness of injuries, the universal 


brotherhood of man, and the all-pervading love of an ever- 
watchful Father. 

This combination of goodness and truth, which we at 
the present time accept under the name of Christianity, 
resembles the threefold nature of man, described by ancient 
philosophers. The religious sentiment, reverential and 
humane, is the* interior soul, in constant communication 
with God; intellectual culture, and powers of reflection, 
are the intermediate soul ; and civil law is the material 
body. The soul forms the outline and expression of the 
body ; but it is equally true that diseases of the body 
affect the state of the soul. 

Preceding quotations from Greeks and Romans show the 
state of preparation existing in the Gentile world, previous 
to the ministry of Christ. The old Teutonic tribes, though 
comparatively rude in most respects, also imparted much 
that was valuable, in exchange for what they received. 
They had always been remarkable for the high considera- 
tion in which they held their women, and the respect with 
which they treated them. They were always allowed an 
equal share in religious ceremonies, and were habitually 
consulted in all the important affairs of war and govern- 
ment. Asiatic servitude and Roman profligacy were alike 
unknown to them. The best of the Romans acknowledged 
that, with regard to the dignity and purity of women, the 
sickly civilization of their own country was keenly rebuked 
by the more healthy tone of their barbarian conquerors. 
The introduction of this element had a very important 
influence on Christianity, in the Western portions of the 
world. The poor condition of churches in Asiatic coun- 
tries, where Grecian culture, Roman law, and Teutonic 
intermixture, have not modified the growth of Christianity, 
indicates how much we owe to those collateral influences. 

It is undeniable that with the good and the true from the 
past, there also came into Christianity much that was evil 
and false. But this is altogether inseparable from the im- 
perfect condition of humanity. No man, not even the 
wisest, ever rises entirely above the opinions and customs 
Vol. III.— 36 


of the age in which he lives. The views of Socrates were 
so far above those of the populace, that they cost him his 
life. Ye1 one of his last acts was to enjoin the sacrifice of 

acock to yEsculapius. That Plato had very elevated views, 
is shown by his placing Goodness above Wisdom^ and both 
above Power y in his attributes of the Deity; also by his 
habit of regarding everything earthly as o£ little value, in 
comparison with the immutable and eternal. Yet even he 
would have had every one confined as a madman, who 
refused to conform to the popular worship of the Gods. 

When a traveller is whirled along on the rail-road, if 
he toss a ball into the air, it returns again to his hand, 
though the cars have gone ahead of the place whence it 
was thrown; because it not only receives an upward ten- 
dency from the individual hand, but also a lateral impulse 
from the motion of the train. Spiritual laws are in 
correspondence with the natural. The highest aspirations 
of an individual are inevitably modified by the social 
atmosphere through which he is travelling ; and the degree 
of impetus given to bis thought is according to the 
progress of the age in which he is moving onward. If 
a Eevelation were dropped down directly from Heaven, 
in all the languages of the world, at the end of a cen- 
tury it would be found to have produced quite different 
systems of thought, and modes of action ; because from 
every community it would take quite as much as it would 
give. This modifying power of external influences over 
the interior aspirations of the soul, constitutes one of 
the centripetal forces, by which God regulates the spiritual 
condition of men. 

If the Apostles had re-appeared in the sixth century } 
would they have recognized the then existing Christianity, 
as the doctrines they taught, and the worship they practised? 
Constantine's colossal statue of Apollo was a very appro- 
priate representation of it. The body of a Grecian god, the 
head of the emperor, and rays of glory formed of nails said 
to be taken from the cross of Christ, was a true image of the 
Church at that period. Jewish converts had added to the 


teaching of Jesus their own traditions, many of them 
drawn from Cabalistic sources; Grecian converts had 
breathed round it an atmosphere of Platonism ; Gnostics 
mingled with it Persian and Buddhist theories, the tinge 
of which remained after Gnosticism itself had disappeared ; 
and in them all was a pervading infusion of old Hindoo 
ideas, long ago transmitted through Egypt. 

We are accustomed to speak of Christianity as entirely 
untinged with polytheistic notions ; but strictly speaking, 
a purely monotheistic faith has never existed. Jews and 
Christians believed as distinctly in the active agency of 
Archangels, Angels, and Devils, as Grecians did in the 
numerous subordinate Spirits employed by Jove. Isis, the 
"Mother Goddess," was never more devoutly worshipped 
in Egypt, than is "The Mother of God," "The Queen of 
Heaven," by a large majority of Christians. The power 
almost universally attributed to Satan is quite equal to 
that which Persians ascribed to Arimanes. In the strict 
sense of the phrase, there are "Devil Worshippers" in all 
countries; that is, there are people, who, by prayers and 
ceremonies, seek to pacify a Powerful Spirit, whose ven- 
geance they dread. In all religions, we find also a ten- 
dency to invest Deity with the feelings of human nature. 
This happens because no man can leap from his own sha- 
dow. In contrast with the intriguing, amorous gods of 
the lively, artistic Grecians, witness Tertullian's grim pic- 
ture of the horrible games God would furnish at the Day 
of Judgment, for the triumph and delight of his faithful 

Among all people, except the Jews and Mohammedans, 
an intermediate object of worship, approaching nearer to 
human sympathies, has gradually superseded the more 
sublime and awful idea of the Supreme One. Thus Mith- 
ras eclipsed Ormuzd, and Crishna supplanted Brahma. 
The same craving for sympathy and mediation, led men to 
address more prayers to Christ, than to the Father ; and 
eventually more to the Virgin Mary, than to either. Truly, 
it is somewhat discouraging to trace the progress of any 


great truth .among existing prejudices, and antecedent in- 
stitutions. One is continually reminded of Jean Paul's 
remark : " The progress of Mankind toward the City of 
God is like the walking of certain pilgrims to Jerusalem, 
who moved backward after every step forward." 

The Fathers did the best they could to arrange the 
incongruous elements around them into an harmonious 
whole ; and their decisions became established authority, 
under the name of apostolic tradition. They could not 
help lapping over their own old opinions upon the new ; 
nor could they avoid having their theology more or less 
subject to modification from Jews, Gnostics, and philoso- 
phers, with whom they were in perpetual controversy. 
For while zealously combatting one error, they generally 
roused into activity the opposite extreme, and were com- 
pelled to sail between the two, as the only practicable 
course, though it might by no means be the one they 
would have chosen, if they had not been subject to coun- 
ter currents. In order to estimate candidly the difficulties 
of their position, it would be necessary to stand, as they 
did, at a point of time, where all the old religions of the 
world were breaking up, and the Spirit of God was brood- 
ing over chaos, to produce new forms. We may smile at 
their credulity, but if we had been there, we should have 
been credulous also. And if we had great truths to defend 
from so many enemies, open and insidious, perhaps we 
should be more prone to imitate their theological intole- 
rance, and occasional indirect statements, than we should 
be to manifest their unflinching courage, fervent piety, 
active benevolence, and unfailing sympathy with the poor 
and the oppressed. 

I confess that the most powerful external testimony to 
the superior excellence of Christ's teaching, seems to me to 
be found in the fact that good men, and great men, and 
reflecting men, were irresistibly attracted toward it, not- 
withstanding the corruptions that early gathered round it, 
and all that Christians themselves did to bring disgrace 
upon the name. The secret of this power lay within itself. 


Diluted as Christianity was, by conformity to existing in- 
stitutions, and changed in its character and purpose, by the 
amalgamation of old traditions with new truths, it con- 
tained within itself living and universal principles, which 
no perversity of man could stifle. Through all the din 
and dissonance of polemics, the gentle, sympathizing words 
of Jesus sounded for ever, like a silver bell above the 
howlings of the storm. Earnest souls listened reverently 
to the all-pervading tones, and received therefrom a more 
child-like trust in the Heavenly Father, more humanity 
toward suffering brethren, and more assured hopes of life 
beyond the grave. 

The explanation of the rapid spread of Christianity is to 
be found in its adaptation to the masses of mankind. The 
priesthood in Hindostan and Egypt, and the philosophers 
of Greece and Eome, had deemed it necessary to conceal 
their highest truths from the people, lest they should be- 
come perverted and desecrated by ignorance and grossness. 
They did not perceive a truth greater than all they taught; 
that there ought not to be any ignorant people ; that know- 
ledge should be diffused like the air, which every man may 
inhale, and into which every man may breathe. Moses 
took a great step in advance, when he sought to make of 
the Israelites "a nation of priests;" and Ezra wisely carried 
out his .liberal views, when he erected synagogues, where 
all the people could hear the Law and the Prophets thrice 
a week. Socrates taught in the market-place, and distri- 
buted gems of wisdom in the workshops of mechanics. 
But this, noble as it was, was merely dissemination of 
knowledge. "While the soul of Jesus, dwelling in a region 
of holiness, above the intellectual, " had compassion on the 
multitude;" was filled, to overflowing, with sympathy for 
the indigent, the afflicted, and the erring. It was reserved 
for him to "heal the broken-hearted," to "preach a Gospel 
to the poor," to say, " Her sins, which are many, are for- 
given ; for she loved much." Nearly two thousand years 
have passed away, since those words of love and pity were 
uttered; yet when I read them, my eyes often fill with 
Vol. III.— 36* 


tears. I thank thee, Heavenly Father, for all the mes- 
sengers thou hast sent to man ; but above all, I thank thee 
for this, thy beloved son ! Pure lily-blossom of the cen- 
turies, taking root deep in the muddy depths, and receiv- 
ing the light and warmth of heaven into its golden heart ! 
All that the pious have felt, all that poets have said, all 
that artists have done, with their manifold forms of beauty, 
to represent the ministry of Jesus, are but feeble expres- 
sions of the great debt we owe him, who is even now curing 
the lame, restoring sight to the blind, and raising the dead, 
in that spiritual sense in which all miracles are true. A 
friend writing to me, says : " That the nature of Jesus was 
gentle, affectionate, and feminine, is shown by his love for 
children, his tears for Lazarus, his shrinking from death. 
Yet, for the sake of substituting the good, the true, and the 
spiritual, for selfishness, falsehood, and formalism, he could 
live without genuine appreciation or sympathy, and calmly 
resign himself to an early and violent death. Theology 
and cant have half spoiled the Bible for us, so that I can 
scarcely make real to myself the spirit of Christ's words 
and life ; but whenever I do so, I always find that it ap- 
peals powerfully to all that is deepest and best in my 

The few who possessed any knowledge had, for ages, 
trampled under their feet the ignorant multitude ; either 
by laws of caste, as in Hindostan and Egypt, or by slavery, 
as in Greece and Rome. Among those generations of 
Egyptian peasants, there must have been many who gazed 
with mournful reverence at the star of Isis, and sometimes 
asked : " Why are the priests the only depositaries of thy 
mysteries? Why must we toil to build palaces for their 
dead bodies, while our own are so dishonoured while alive? 
Oh, Mother Goddess, if we are not of thy children, and 
may not learn thy laws, why hast thou sent us here, to 
labour, to suffer, and to die ?" Yet most of those simple 
souls, after thus wrestling with the darkness that oppressed 
them, would go to the priests to seek atonement for the 
sin of their involuntary thoughts. And the poor Pariah, 


catchiDg glimpses of the sacred Banian Groves from afar, 
and looking upward, half afraid of the bright Spirits who 
dwelt among the stars, could he otherwise than reproach 
them, that he by birth was excluded from the paths that 
led to light, while Bramins ruled on earth, and went to 
dwell in palaces above ? Millions of such groans ascended 
from the oppressed earth, and still the ages rolled heavily 
on, and while the prophets of all nations promised a Mes- 
siah, the people imploringly exclaimed: "When will the 
deliverer appear?" 

In the times immediately preceding our era, individual 
souls began to feel their deprivations and wrongs more 
distinctly ; though as yet they had not reasoned concern- 
ing them. There was a state of preparation for the advent 
of Christ; the dawn of All Souls' Day. At that warm 
bright flush in the east, well might poor shepherds hear the 
angels sing ! Well might the Holy Spirit appear to the 
populace in the form of a dove ! Well might fishermen 
forsake their nets, to proclaim the glad tidings to all peo- 
ple! None but poor men, in sympathy with the poor, 
could have preached such a religion as the times demanded. 
The best among the rich and the educated heard in it the 
utterings of their own half-revealed consciousness of exist- 
ing wrong; while to the poor, it was like opening prison 
doors, and letting in the light from heaven. The previous 
state of spiritual hunger is indicated by the rapid diffusion 
of the doctrines. Some, who are prone to look merely on 
the outside of things, have said that Christianity was em- 
braced principally by the indigent, because it supplied 
them with food and raiment. Doubtless such motives in- 
fluenced considerable numbers; but that reason is alto- 
gether insufficient to account for the general enthusiasm, 
which soon pervaded all ranks. The real attraction was 
of a more interior character. Never before had there been 
a strong spiritual tie between the educated and the ignor- 
ant, the rich and the poor. In Christian communities, the 
labouring man felt that he was a member of a large affec- 
tionate family, who sympathised with his sorrows, and 


rejoiced in his improvement. If beset with doubts or 
temptations, he could go to the church, as to a mother, 
who was ever ready to give him kindly counsel. If he 
had sinned, he could unburthen his heavy heart, ami say : 
''Brethren, I have strayed from the right path. Help me 
to come into the fold again." Inexpressibly cheering and 
strengthening it must have been, to find it a recognized 
truth, that such as they had souls to be saved ; souls of 
priceless worth, compared with which all the wealth of the 
world was as dross. 

The civil relations of men remained the same ; for there 
was a sincere reverence for government, as an institution 
ordained of God. Moreover, when the sect was compara- 
tively pure it was too feeble to dictate to rulers. The 
democratic element could not take any other form than the 
religious. The church could control their own internal 
arrangements; and certainly they might have abolished 
slavery within their own limits. But many slaves to Pa- 
gan masters belonged to their communities, and the com- 
plicated relation required prudent management. Where 
slaves belonged to their own members, they could, in the 
early days, trust to Christian character, which really did, 
in good earnest, abolish all distinctions. This spiritual 
equality satisfied the requisitions of conscience, in times of 
primitive sincerity ; and afterward, when professed Chris- 
tians were often more selfish and tyrannical than many of 
the Pagans, the church had become too proud and politic 
to interfere with the wealthy, on any subject not connected 
with its own aggrandizement. Theological limitation also 
came in, to check expansive sympathy. To redeem only 
Christians from slavery, and of those only such as were in 
bondage to unbelieving masters, was merely an enlarge- 
ment of the feeling which would lead a man to emancipate 
his own children, taken captive by strangers ; still it was 
an enlargement, to acknowledge an extensive spiritual re- 
lationship, in addition to the bonds of nature. It was 
something gained, that every slave could by conversion 
become an object of this fraternal sympathy ; that there 


was nothing to hinder him from being a priest ; and if he 
had sufficient talent or virtue, he might eventually become 
a bishop; as was the case with Onesimus. It was also 
something gained, to have such eloquent outbursts against 
the whole institution of slavery, as were proclaimed from 
the pulpit by Gregory of Nyssa, and John of the Golden 
Mouth. Never had Pagan eloquence occupied itself with 
a theme so morally grand ! No wonder the lowly and the 
ignorant reverenced, even to excess, those men of learning 
and talent, who laid aside worldly honours, to instruct 
them, and plead their cause with the powerful ; and who 
proved the sincerity of their sympath}^ by giving all they 
possessed to found hospitals, and establish orphan asylums. 
Never before had there been a class of teachers, who im- 
parted regular instruction to the ignorant, and made it the 
business of their lives to protect the weak against the 
strong. Never had the aged and the helpless, the widows 
and the orphans, been so tenderly provided for, as they 
were by the Christian churches. Never in the world's 
history had there been such an earnest and extensive effort 
to inculcate the brotherhood of man, and to exemplify it 
by practice. Even when the sect became sufficiently nu- 
merous and powerful, to induce ambitious men to be its 
leaders, it long remained a matter of policy, with the 
worldly ones among the bishops, to manifest sympathy for 
the poor, that the character already established by the 
church might not be injured in the eyes of Pagans; for the 
argument Moses urged upon the Lord was obviously ever 
present to their minds : "If the people die by the way, the 
Egyptians will hear of it." But while some were influ- 
enced by this low motive, there were always, especially in 
the villages, many meek and pious clergymen, who relieved 
the suffering, and vindicated the oppressed, from their 
exceeding love and reverence for Jesus, who had said: 
" Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my 
brethren, ye have done it unto me." 

Much of the preaching in those days would doubtless 
seem poor, if tried by our standard; but it was a great 


advance in the conditio]] of rude nations to have moral and 
religious instruction of any kind offered to the whole peo- 
ple; and tin; benign countenance of Christ could never be 
quite obscured by the clouds the thered round it. 

Ii is true, the brotherhood of man • irfectlj 

acknowledged, or ]■<• But good seed was sown in 

the rough soil of human hearts, and in its growth it gradu- 
ally modified or abolished many a barbarous custom ; such 
as the slaughter of prisoners taken in war, gladiatorial 
combats, and contests with wild beasts, for the amusement 
of the populace. It greatly aided previous influences, 
which had prepared the way for improvement in human 
affairs; especially in the condition of women. The lie- 
brew religion had always been very emphatic concerning 
personal purity ; and though polygamy was allowed, the 
practice of it was an exception to the general rule. Teu- 
tonic tribes married but one wife, and fully acknowledged 
the equality of men and women, in church and state. Ro- 
mans prohibited polygamy by law. IIow far they had 
advanced beyond Asiatic ideas on the subject, is indicated 
by a remark of Cato the Censor, who lived two hundred 
and thirty-two years before Christ. He was. accustomed to 
say : " They who beat wives or children lay their sacrile- 
gious hands on the most sacred things in the world. For 
myself, I prefer the character of a good husband, to that 
of a great senator." The gentle and compassionate charac- 
ter of Christ was peculiarly attractive to the feminine na- 
ture ; therefore, the number of proselytes was always much 
greater among women than among men. The influence 
they exerted over relatives was a constant theme of com- 
plaint and sarcasm among the Pagans. The orator Liba- 
nius reproached the patricians of Antioch with being 
"governed by their wives, whom they ought to govern.'* 
Ee inquires: " Why are you not guided by Pythagoras 
and Plato, instead of appealing to your wives and mothers." 
By proving such efficient missionaries with husbands, sons, 
and brothers, women acquired an importance in the church, 
which they had never possessed in connection with the old 


worship. There was spiritual equality between slaves and 
patricians, between men and women. This religious sym- 
pathy and companionship greatly ennobled the idea of 
marriage. It does not appear that the wisest and best 
Pagan ever rose to such an elevated view of the subject, as 
Tertullian presents in his picture of a truly Christian union 
between the sexes. 

The priesthood of Greece and Rome merely performed 
religious ceremonies to procure rain, preserve the crops, 
avert pestilence, and for other similar purposes. No such 
thing as moral teaching of the people was included in their 
office. Philosophers, who were the only preachers, ap- 
pealed solely to reason, and systematically withdrew from 
the populace. Platonism, which was the most elevated 
form of philosophy, imparted a lunar light, beautiful but 
vague, and cold, because it came from intellect only. No 
roseate flush from the sentiments warmed its atmosphere. 
Plato preached a Gospel of Beauty, and endeavoured to 
form well-proportioned characters, like the harmonious 
structure of Grecian statues and temples. Hence, his con- 
stant allusions to music, as an essential element in educa- 
tion. But he did not embrace the poor and the ignorant 
within his sympathies. He had no word of strength or 
consolation to impart to sinful and contrite souls. The 
heaven he preached was only for those who "philosophized 
truly, and loved beautiful forms." 

His followers, the New Platonists, taught that the Logos, 
who created the visible world, knew and loved only what 
was above him; and the Supreme, having no superior, 
knew and loved only himself. Such a God was not the 
Heavenly Father. And the future world could not have 
offered much that was palpable, even to the cultivated few, 
for whom it was partially unveiled in the Eleusinian Mys- 
teries. The mind must have been bewildered in the long 
ascending and descending spiral of existences; the ever- 
evolving circles of manifested and reabsorbed spirit. In 
the eternal rotation of the infinite whole, an individual was 


but as dust thrown from the chariot wheel, in its perpetual 
circuit through the " orbit oi' necessity." 

On the contrary, the most prominent feature in Chris- 
tianity was the value and importance of individual man. 
For him was the world created, and all inferior creatures 
made ; for him was heaven prepared ; for his redemption 
the Son of God had given his life ; over his repentance the 
church on earth, and the angels above, rejoiced. The 
resurrection of the body, to live a thousand years on this 
earth, renovated in beauty and purged of evil, was a far 
more tangible idea than that of a Grecian shade, waiting 
his appointed term in an unknown Elysium; for in all 
ages, people are much better acquainted with their bodies, 
than they are with their souls. Another exceedingly strong 
attraction, which Christianity presented, was the prospect 
of becoming completely purified from sin, and made sure 
of salvation, by the administration of baptism and the 

The alliance between Platonic philosophy and the old 
externals of worship satisfied conservative minds, who in- 
fused some life into the ceremonies, by investing them with 
allegorical significance. Plutarch compares Grecian my- 
thology to a rainbow in relation to the sun. He says the 
light which formed it was from heaven, though it was 
broken by the medium. The facility with which the mind 
of man, in all ages and countries, contrives to adapt itself 
to whatever is held traditional and sacred, is remarkable. 
Mackay says truly : "A large mass of error is easily em- 
balmed and perpetuated by a little truth." But conserva- 
tives of that period, as of all other periods, kept up old 
forms, not so much for themselves, as for the common 
people. Philosophers conformed to popular language con- 
cerning the gods, and practised outward ceremonies, long- 
after they had inwardly set them aside, or given them a 
higher meaning. Growth was not considered dangerous, 
so long as it was confined to the initiated few ; but it was 
supposed the safety of the state required that the populace 
should continue to regard as sacred old ideas in their old 


dress. We have no right to judge this very harshly, con- 
sidering that the experience of revolving ages has not yet 
convinced mankind, that no dangers can possibly equal 
those arising from ignorance, and a suppression of the 
truth. But vain is the attempt to conserve a national faith 
in the hearts of the people, for any great length of time, 
after its hold upon thinking minds is weakened. A chain 
of unnoticed influences is always at work, by which the 
enlightened few affect the many, even when they do not 
intend it. Their zeal kindles others, and their coldness 
chills. The intermediate state between the old dying faith 
and the new birth have a paralyzing influence on the vital- 
ity of society, which manifests itself in religion, literature, 
and the Arts. All forms, that are kept up after they are 
felt to be empty, do in reality degenerate into image-wor- 
ship, and greatly demoralize a people; whether it be nomi- 
nal reverence for a mythology, or for days and seasons; 
for a statue, or a book. The early teachers of Christianity 
earnestly believed what they taught, and therefore they 
magnetized the multitude. New apple trees will not flour- 
ish where an old orchard has been. The Platonists taught 
much that was high and true, and furnished many noble 
examples. But they were offshoots from a decaying stock, 
which had drawn from the soil all the appropriate nourish- 
ment it had to impart; while Christianity was a fresh 
young tree, bearing different fruit, and deriving sustenance 
from other qualities of the earth. 

If any one is disposed to doubt that Christianity con- 
tains within itself a vital element of progress, superior to 
any other spiritual influence by which God has yet guided 
the world, I think he will be convinced by comparing the 
practical results of different religious systems. All of them 
contain truth, all of them have produced, and are pro- 
ducing, greater or less degrees of good. But after making 
due deductions, on account of the iniquitous practices of 
Christendom, we are still compelled to admit that there 
only do we find sympathy, benevolence, and active exer- 
tion for the improvement of all mankind. Christianity is 
Vol. Ill— 37 I 


the only form of religion which has warmed up whole na- 
tions, to sacrifice time, talent, and wealth, for the benefit 
of remote and degraded classes of people, from whom no 
return of advantages could be expected. One instance 
will suffice for illustration. Where the slave trade and 
slavery have been abolished, it has not been done by policy 
of government. It has been the expansive force of Chris- 
tian sympathy, compelling cold reluctant statesmen to 
move in obedience to the mighty pulsation of the popular 
heart. There was no fire to create such propelling steam 
in the Pagan religions; and in the Asiatic, the celestial 
spark smoulders under the heavy pressure of belief in irre- 
sistible fate. 

In the Retrospective Chapter, a brief parallel has already 
been drawn between Buddhism and Christianity. As the 
formulas of the Christian church became established, the 
resemblance grew more and more striking. Witness invo- 
cations of the dead ; temporary purification by fire after 
death, the term of which might be shortened by alms to 
monks, and donations to churches, offered by the living ; 
pilgrimages to holy shrines ; adoration of relics ; self-tor- 
ture of devotees ; and the use of rosaries. The monastic 
institution is too exact a copy to be mistaken. There is 
nothing in the New Testament, which bears the slightest 
resemblance to it ; and there was nothing like it among 
the Hebrews, except the Egyptianized Jews called Thera- 
peutse, who lived in a land full of Hindoo customs. Budd- 
hist countries have been little known to Europeans, until 
within the last century. As soon as they came in contact 
with each other, the close resemblance in many religious 
ideas, customs, and forms of worship, immediately attracted 
attention. Borri, a Jesuit missionary to Cochin China, 
says : " It looks as if the Devil had endeavoured among 
the Gentiles to represent the beauty and variety of reli- 
gious orders in the Catholic churoh. The priests have 
chaplets and strings of beads about their necks. There are 
also among them persons resembling bishops, and abbots, 
and archbishops ; and they use gilt staves, not unlike our 


croziers. If any man came newly into that country, he 
might easily be persuaded there had been Christians there 
in former times ; so nearly has the Devil attempted to imi- 
tate us." It has been a favourite theory that Nestorian 
Christians sent missionaries, some thousand years ago, to 
Tartary, Northern Thibet, and Northern China ; and that 
the Buddhists borrowed many ideas and customs from the 
churches they planted there. But the same similarities 
are found in Cochin China, Tonquin, and Japan, far be- 
yond the bounds of any Nestorian missions. Moreover, 
there is not found in the religion of Thibet any tradition, 
any name, or any token whatsoever, indicating connection 
with Christianity. All, who are acquainted with human 
affairs, will acknowledge that the old rarely borrows from 
the new ; especially in religious forms ; while a new wor- 
ship almost unavoidably becomes mingled with many things 
previously consecrated to the minds of men. The great 
antiquity of the Buddhist religion is proved, beyond all 
doubt, by the existence of Buddha's image in very ancient 
rock-temples in Hindostan, and by the allusion to his sect 
in the sacred poem called the Ramayana, written more 
than a thousand years before Christ. The same poem, and 
other still more ancient Sacred Books of Hindostan, men- 
tion anchorites, whose modes of asceticism and self-torture 
appear to have been very closely imitated by the disciples 
of St. Anthony. The religious associations of Bramins, 
in the forests, whose time was devoted to contemplation, a 
routine of prayers, and the instruction of young priests, 
greatly resemble the Christian monasteries, which did not 
come into existence till more than a thousand years later. 
Whether some of the early Gnostics, and other Christian 
teachers, were brought into direct contact with wandering 
Hindoo devotees ; or with the Buddhist missionaries, who 
spread themselves all over the East ; or whether they im- 
bibed similar ideas and customs from Egypt, where they 
existed from very ancient times, is uncertain. But that 
India, by some process, direct or indirect, exerted great 


influence over early Christianity, appears too obvious to 
require argument 

All countries under European influences arc subject to 
progression and change, from which even the moat QOB.- 

servative states cannot entirely shield themselves. But in 
Asia, the depreciation of this visible world, and the uni- 
versal belief in destiny, have produced an unchangeable 
lethargy. Therefore, those who visit Buddhist countries 
now, find them in very much the same condition that 
Christendom was before the Middle Ages. The Grand 
Lama is acknowledged as the central power of many na- 
tions, the same as the Pope was ; monks with shaven heads 
are met everywhere, saying their prayers on rosaries ; and 
crowds of pilgrims are constantly wending their way to the 
shrine of some celebrated relic, which they believe to be 
endowed with miraculous power to cure diseases, and bring 
good fortune. The account of Lamaseries in Thibet imme- 
diately suggests Mary Howitt's description of Christian 
Monasteries in the olden time : 

" And there they kept, the pious monks, 
Within a garden small, 
All plants that had a healing power, 
All herbs medicinal. 

And thither came the sick, the maimed, 

The moonstruck and the blind, 
For holy flower, for wort of power, 

For charmed root or rind." 

Many resemblances in doctrine, and especially in forms 
of expression concerning Bouddha and Christ, will also 
strike every observing reader. It is expressly stated that 
Bouddha descended into the hells, to instruct and comfort 
the souls there. The same appears in the Apostles' Creed 
concerning Christ ; but not until after the sixth century. 
In one sense, the followers of Bouddha regarded him as a 
redeemer. They viewed this world as a scene of illusions, 
in which men were kept enchanted, by reason of the soul's 
imprisonment in Matter. They saw no way of reconciling 


a material existence with spiritual life. Men must get* out 
of the body, in order to be one with God. But though 
constantly tempted, nay compelled to sin, in the body, each 
offence must be atoned for, by an equivalent amount of 
suffering by somebody. Bouddha, while on earth, was 
described as inflicting severe penances upon himself, for 
the benefit of others. In the form of a beautiful fox, he 
allowed himself to be skinned alive, to invite tormenting 
insects, that he might in that way help to expiate the sins 
of mankind. 

Christians taught the inherent transmitted sinfulness of 
all mortals; though the doctrine was not based on the 
same idea. They received from Jews the Cabalistic theory, 
that the germ of all human souls was in Adam; conse- 
quently all became infected with his sin ; for which atone- 
ment must be made. It was a common idea that Christ's 
extreme agony in the garden was owing to the fact that he 
suffered for all the sins of all mankind. 

Klaproth, a distinguished German Professor of the Asi- 
atic Languages, says: "Next to the Christian religion, no 
one has contributed more to ennoble the human race, than 
the religion of Bouddha." Candour also requires the ad- 
mission that the progress of Buddhism, though far more 
extensive than Christianity, has been more peaceful. There 
is no record that it was ever established in any country by 
force, nor have I met with any account of hostile sects 
slaying each other by hundreds. 

Kindness toward animals, inculcated in all the Sacred 
Books, and everywhere practised as a religious duty, forms 
a lovely feature in the Asiatic religions, which Christianity 
would do well to imitate. True, it is founded on sym- 
pathy, produced by belief in the transmigration of souls, 
and it sometimes degenerates into fantastic excesses. But 
a friendly relation between men and animals is beautiful 
and good ; and though Christians do not believe the soul 
of an aucestor may have passed into a horse, they might 
practise humanity from a higher motive. Tenderness 
toward the dumb creatures of God would harmonize with 
Vol. in.— 37* 


the spirit of the religion they profess; and to acquire it 7 
they merely need to apply the first and most obvious role 
of natural religion: "How should L like to be treated, it' I 

prere myself a horse?" 

If Christians habitually looked at themselves, and at the 
followers of foreign religions, from the same point of view, 
there would be much less exultation over their own supe- 
riority. If the Koran declared that God said to Moham- 
med : " Smite Amalek. Destroy utterly all that they have, 
and spare them not ; but slay man and woman, infant and 
suckling," the text would doubtless have been quoted 
thousands of times by theologians, to prove the cruelty of 
Moslems, and the improbability that such a command came 
by Divine inspiration. 

The existence of caste in Hindostan has been a constant 
theme of disparaging comparison with Christianity. So 
far as relates to the teaching and example of Christ, such 
remarks are just ; but in point of practice, the law of caste 
exists throughout Christendom. In most European coun- 
tries, there is a caste, which derives its right to govern all 
the others from hereditary descent, without reference to 
talent or goodness. There is also a caste, who inherit high 
dignities, lucrative offices, and large landed estates, which 
cannot be sold to pay just debts to poor men. A member 
of this favoured caste sometimes possesses estates so exten- 
sive, that he could not ride over them in a week ; while 
thousands of labourers cannot obtain land sufficient to 
raise food for their families. In the United States of 
America, there exists a degraded caste, amounting to more 
than four millions of people. They are taxed and pun- 
ished by the laws, but are not allowed to vote for those 
who make them. They are confined to menial occupa- 
tions ; being excluded from all lucrative employments, all 
honourable offices, and from seminaries of education ; ex- 
cept in a very few and recent instances. From cars, steam- 
boats, and other public conveyances, they are either entirely 
excluded, or compelled to take the most unclean and un- 
comfortable places ; by which the health of many is seri- 


ously injured. No amount of intelligence, or honourable 
conduct, can save them from this general proscription, to 
which they are condemned by birth. Many of them are 
pious Christians ; some of them preachers of the Gospel ; 
but they are required to worship in buildings by them- 
selves. Where the numbers are not sufficient to form an 
isolated congregation, they are sometimes admitted into 
churches with the higher classes, on condition of sitting by 
themselves, far apart from others, and of not receiving the 
eucharist until all others have been served. It is not re- 
spectable to intermarry with them, or to eat at the same 
table. Even the dead bodies of these Christian Pariahs 
are regarded as a contamination, and are not allowed to be 
buried in the same enclosure with bones of the privileged 
classes. Similar customs in Hindostan are sanctioned by 
their Sacred Books, which enjoin a demarcation of castes ; 
but the New Testament of the Christians expressly teaches 
the equality and brotherhood of mankind. In one case 
there is moral darkness ; in the other, there is wilful dis- 
obedience to acknowledged light. 

As a general thing, Christians have manifested very little 
kindness, or candour, in their estimate of other religions ; 
but the darkest blot on their history is their treatment of 
the Jews. This is the more singular, because we have so 
much in common with them. We worship the same God, 
under the same name ; we reverence their Scriptures ; we 
make pilgrimages to their Holy City. Christ, and his 
Mother, and his Apostles, were Jews, and appear to have 
conformed to the established worship of the country; 
which we consequently claim as our sacred land. That 
the crucifixion occurred there was the fault of very few of 
the people. Only two of the tribes ever returned to Jeru- 
salem, and of them merely a remnant. Their descendants 
scattered all over the Roman empire. They spoke a dif- 
ferent language from their forefathers, and had little inter- 
course with Palestine. Doubtless thousands of them never 
heard of Jesus, till they were brought into collision with 
his followers, who increased Roman prejudice against them, 


by preaching the immediate establishment of the Messiah's 
kingdom on earth. Jt was not the benevolent and holy 
Jesus, consecrated to our hearts, whom they rejected. Pa- 
lestine Jews described him to their brethren abroad, as the 
founder of an obscure sect, who was not strict in keeping 
the Sabbath, who associated with odious tax-gatherers and 
foreigners, who spoke disparagingly of their sacred tradi- 
tions, called their men of prayer hypocrites, and was finally 
executed for attempting to make himself king. And even 
in Palestine, doubtless great numbers of the people never 
manifested any animosity toward him, and never in reality 
knew much about his character. His followers in Jerusa- 
lem, at the time of his death, numbered only one hundred 
and twenty ; and the existence of so small a sect might 
easily be unknown in many parts of the country. Even 
those who were really his enemies acted with the blind 
bigotry so generally manifested by established churches 
toward non-conformists. The Christian Fathers them- 
selves admit that the Jews were not aware of persecuting 
the Son of God; because both Christ and his Apostles 
sedulously concealed his divinity. But though so few 
were implicated in the cruel transaction, the Fathers were 
accustomed to speak of all Jews, in all parts of the world, 
as " murderers of Christ;" and they were everywhere hated 
and persecuted, as if each one of them had put him to 
death, knowing him to be the Son of God. For nearly 
two thousand years has this rancorous hostility been per- 
petuated, though it rests on such an unjust and irrational 
foundation. And men who branded all the Jews as out- 
casts, who plundered and slaughtered them, for an offence 
committed by a small number of their very remote ances- 
tors, were accustomed to quote, as their standard, the prayer 
which Jesus offered for those who were the immediate 
causes of his death : " Father, forgive them ; for they know 
not what they do." 

Did a religion manifesting such a spirit offer anything 
lovely to the Jews, that they should be induced to embrace 
it ? Do not noble souls naturally cling to ancient and con- 


secrated usages, when men speak evil of them, and force is 
used to compel their relinquishment? If we looked at 
the subject candidly, I think we should acknowledge as 
heroic martyrs, those men and women, who resisted con- 
stant appeals to their fears and their selfishness, and at the 
cost of incredible sacrifices and sufferings, still set their 
faces steadfastly toward Jerusalem, and replied : " After this 
manner worship we the God of our fathers." Ever since 
I have reflected on the subject, I have never been able to 
do otherwise than reverence their firmness and their faith. 

It has been the singular destiny of that extraordinary 
people to be objects of great exaggeration, both as ancients 
and moderns. When they were rude nomadic tribes, they 
had the narrowness and barbarity, which unavoidably 
characterize nations in that stage of civilization. But we 
regard them, at that time, as the only depositories of truth 
revealed by God to man ; and the fragments of their bar- 
barous history are quoted as sacred rules of life. The 
Jews of Eome and Alexandria, whom the Christian Fathers 
considered as deservedly accursed by men, and outcasts 
from God's mercy, were better, and far more enlightened, 
than those savage tribes of the desert, who went about 
slaughtering women and children, in the name of Jehovah, 
and who were nevertheless reverenced as the only people 
God had chosen for his own, on the face of the whole 
earth. Even on the borders of our own times, Moses 
Mendelssohn, the great and the good, would not have 
been allowed to purchase an acre of land in Christian coun- 
tries, where Joshua is regarded as directly and constantly 
inspired by God, though he allured marauding tribes to 
conquer innocent people, by promises of " harvests they 
had not sowed, and vineyards they had not planted." 

We owe the Jews an immense debt of gratitude, after 
deducting all exaggerations. Their great lawgiver cared 
for the poor, and instructed all the people ; their prophets 
kept alive reverence for God, and abhorrence of idolatry ; 
and their poets uttered solemn strains of penitence, through 
which contrite hearts have for ages poured out their sor- 


rows and supplications before the Lord. These things 
contributed very largely to form a basis on which to 
build Christianity. Their Scriptures are exceedingly 
valuable, as fragments of ancient history, which throw 
light on our own religion. Their solemn rebukes of 
sin, and their eloquent outbursts of devotional feeling, 
render them venerable and dear to all religious souls. 
But adapted, as some portions of them were, to savage 
tribes, and others to semi-barbarous ages, they become a 
positive obstacle to progress in humanity, when received 
literally, by civilized nations, as a rule of life. How can 
it be otherwise with books that authorize stoning people 
to death for picking up sticks on Saturday; scalding a 
man that scalds you ; killing a son for disobedience ; whip- 
ping slaves as much as is consistent with their living over 
two days ; and cutting to pieces prisoners taken in battle? 
Every abominable practice in Christendom has by turns 
been sustained by arguments drawn from the Old Testa- 
ment. True, other passages breathe a different spirit ; but 
that is because the volume is made up of fragments, com- 
posed at different epochs, and, by men of totally different 
characters. The portion which may be made universally 
applicable to all times is very small. Up to a certain 
point, written Revelations aid the progress of nations ; but 
after the state of society for which they were written has 
entirely passed away, they become a positive hindrance ; 
because the habit of reverence remains after the life has 
gone. "It is only the living, who can bury the dead." 
The Code of Menu and the Pouranas are the greatest of 
all obstacles to the civilization of Hindostan ; and the 
progress of the Jews has been much impeded by the 
Pentateuch and the Talmud. Men part slowly with old 
established opinions and forms. Mental resistance to 
change is as strong as the principle of inertia in mechan- 
ical science. When reason, in its manly growth, can no 
longer be satisfied with the food that sustained its infancy, 
imagination comes with a vase of ambrosial allegories. In 
this way, Philo found the poetic system of Plato within 


the practical and circumstantial laws of Moses. Ram- 
mohun Roy permeated the Yedas with the same refining 
element. And Christian Fathers found all the inward 
warfare of their souls in the wanderings and battles of the 
Israelites. But this process is resorted to only by reflec- 
tive minds. The great majority venerate a doctrine, a 
book, or an institution, merely because it has long been 
venerated ; and as Thomas Carlyle says : " It is truly sur- 
prising how long a rotten post may stand, provided it be 
not shaken." Dr. Lardner, the well-known ecclesiastical 
writer says : " No religion can be so absurd and unreason- 
able, especially when it has been established, and of a long 
time, that it will not find men of good abilities, not only 
to palliate and excuse, but also to approve and justify, and 
recommend its greatest absurdities." 

But though it is unwise to expend vain efforts in gal- 
vanizing the dead, the body that once had life should be 
treated reverently. And we ought never to forget that 
forms, which are dead to us, may have been very much 
alive to others ; that things may seem absurd merely be- 
cause the idea they originally conveyed is lost. We turn 
with contempt from representations of Egyptian priests 
kneeling before a golden beetle. But five thousand years 
hence, similar feelings may be excited by pictures of a 
Catholic priest kneeling before an altar, on which is a lamb 
with a cross ; because the meaning of the emblem may be 
forgotten. It is impossible for us to tell what spiritual 
truth the golden beetle represented to Egyptian minds. 
If we could be enabled to perceive the idea precisely as it 
appeared to them, perhaps the symbol would fill us with 
veneration, as the embodiment of some great mystery, con- 
nected with God and the soul. If in the long lapse of 
ages, a time should ever arrive, when men know as little 
about the ceremonies of the Christian church, as we know 
concerning those of Chaldea and Egypt, how would it seem 
to them to find an inscription somewhere, which recorded 
that men and women were accustomed to assemble on 
stated occasions to eat small morsels of bread, and sip a 


few drops of wine, which the priest had previously conse- 
crated by a form of prayer; that some deemed them the 
veritable body and blood of God ; and believed that the 
salvation of the soul depended upon partaking of them? 
If the significance of the ordinance were lost, how puerile 
would the form appear! We consider the ancient re- 
ligions absurd ; but if we should ever become angels and 
archangels, with a capacity of remembering our present 
views concerning God and the soul, they will appear far 
more external and childish, than do now those of the first 
Hebrews in their tents, or the first Grecians in their caves. 

And after all, there is more similarity in the leading 
ideas of various ages and nations, than we have been ac- 
customed to acknowledge. The seven Amshaspands of 
Persia, the " seven mighty Princes" before the throne of 
God, described by the Hebrew prophet, and the seven 
Archangels in whom Christians believe, are certainly very 
like each other. The Guardian Angels, so often pictured 
by Christian artists, bear great resemblance to the winged 
Archetype, which Grecians said every human being had 
in the world of Spirits ; a kind of Heavenly Elder Brother, 
who was attracted toward him by the sympathy of spirit- 
ual relationship ; who knew all his thoughts and actions, 
and at death accompanied him to the Judges of the Dead, 
and rendered an account of them. Certainly, Christians 
invested Angels with a much higher and purer character, 
than had belonged to Grecian Spirits. Thereby the pro- 
gressive growth of the ages concerning Divine Natures was 
expressed, and much was gained for the future. But all 
human souls have been children of the same Father, 
travelling toward the same home as ourselves ; and there- 
fore we must needs have much in common. 

The great similarity in the prophecies, traditions, and 
even emblems, of various ages and countries, will of course 
strike every reader. In all parts of the world we find tra- 
ditions of a time when the earth was spontaneously fruit- 
ful, when men were innocent, and lived to an immense age. 
Everywhere, prophets have foretold that the Golden Age 


would be restored by some holy and just man, or some 
incarnated deity, who would appear in the latter times. 
Everywhere, there have been predictions of the destruction 
of the world by fire, and accounts of its inundation by 
water. The Goddess Mother with her Child was pictured 
on Egyptian temples; veiled behind Chinese altars; con- 
secrated in Druid groves; and glorified in Christian 
churches. People will explain these coincidences differ- 
ently, according as the reverential or rational element 
prevails in character. Some will suppose that Hebrew 
Scriptures were the original source of all, and will con- 
sider everything a prophecy of Christ. Others will say 
that the same wants and aspirations in human nature pro- 
duce similar manifestations in nations and times remote 
from each other; that the Past is always reproduced in the 
Present, and always prophesies the Future ; as the child is 
prophetic of the man. 

In the Retrospective Chapter, allusion was made to 
traces of animal magnetism among the ancients. Similar 
phenomena reappear in later times. Apollonius at Ephe- 
sus is described as perceiving things which happened at 
the same moment at Rome. Celsus speaks of it as a com- 
mon thing for Egyptian magicians to make inanimate 
things move, as if they were alive, and so to influence 
uncultured men, as to produce in them whatever sights or 
sounds they pleased. Tertullian describes a Montanist 
woman, who cured diseases, perceived the thoughts of 
others, and held conversations with Spirits, which were 
taken down in writing, as inspired revelations. Hermits, 
reduced to a state of nervous excitability, by fasting and 
watchfulness, are said to have perceived the thoughts of 
people, to have cured diseases by laying on their hands, 
and even by transmitting written words to the invalid. 
The account of Theurgy among the New Platonists sounds 
like a modern description of clairvoyance. Early painters, 
in their pictures of the Virgin and saints curing diseases, 
sometimes represented streams of light radiating from their 

Vol. III.— 38 


"With regard to the innumerable miracles recorded by 
all parties, there is doubtless very great allowance to be 
made for fabrication, exaggeration, and trickery; but after 
making all reasonable deductions from the accounts which 
have been handed down to us, it still seems likely that 
some remarkable things really did occur, and formed a 
basis for numerous reports. Perhaps some were uncon- 
sciously accomplished by means of that mysterious agency, 
which we call magnetism; and men finding themselves 
possessed of a power, which they could not explain, hon- 
estly supposed that some Spirit was working miracles 
through them. Whoever has been in the midst of a very 
excited crowd, has been aware of an influence which it is 
extremely difficult to resist ; which seems to carry him out 
of himself, and renders it almost impossible to preserve the 
balance of his judgment. This sometimes happens even 
when there was originally little or no sympathy with the 
cause of excitement. What then must it be, where faith 
is at its highest pitch of exaltation, and the soul becomes a 
perfect medium of spiritual electricity ? All earnestness 
is magnetic; and perhaps there never was a greater degree 
of enthusiasm, than pervaded early Christian assemblies ; 
especially among the Montanists. How could it otherwise 
than operate powerfully on the nerves and imagination of 
an invalid, heated white-hot with the same fervour of faith? 
That diseases should actually be cured thereby, is no more 
incredible than the well known fact that the bed-ridden 
have been able to leap out of the windows, when their 
minds were excited to the highest degree, by a knowledge 
that the house was in flames. Lord Bacon says : " There 
has been very little inquiry, and not at all proportioned to 
the depth and importance of the subject, how far imagina- 
tion, or thought, very fixed, and as it were exalted into a 
faith, can effect a change in the body of the imaginer." 

At the present time, we begin to recognize the existence 
of laws connected with the relation of soul and body, and 
their action on each other ; though as yet we have made 
no approach toward understanding them. But in those 


early centuries, no man dreamed of the existence of such 
laws. Everything was attributed to the direct agency of 
God. St. Anthony, Hilarion, and Simeon Stylites, might 
have really cured diseases, they knew not how, by reason 
of their own half disembodied state, and the undoubting 
faith of others. The peculiarities which are induced by 
any particular state of the world, are, by the necessity of 
spiritual laws, adapted to that state. What inspires rever- 
ence at one period, excites ridicule at another ; and when 
faith in it has gone, it loses its magnetic power, for good 
or evil. 

No doubt, many imputed miracles were merely natural 
experiments, or scientific phenomena, disguised under reli- 
gious formulas, with which they had no connection. When 
the lamps used for Easter were replenished with water from 
the river, it was believed to be miraculously converted into 
oil by prayers of the bishop, and because he who poured 
it had strong faith in the power of Christ ; but it is not 
likely he did anything more than most housewives have 
done, when they wished to raise the oil in their lamps. 
The Gymnosophist, who caused a tree to speak to Apollo- 
nius, was probably a ventriloquist. Perhaps the expelled 
Devils, who audibly acknowledged themselves to be Jupi- 
ter or Apollo, received similar aid; in fact the idea is 
suggested by a remark I have quoted from Justin Martyr. 
When Maximus, the Platonic philosopher, caused all the 
lamps in the temple to blaze instantly, by a form of words, 
there was doubtless gas in his proceedings. The Catholics, 
who talked after their tongues were cut out, have had 
parallels in modern times. The Academy of Science, in 
Paris, published, early in the eighteenth century, an ac- 
count of a girl born without a tongue, who yet talked dis- 
tinctly and easily. The statement was made by an eminent 
physician, who had carefully examined her mouth. A 
similar account was attested by them concerning a boy, 
who had lost his tongue by an ulcer. 

The existence of very pious feelings, in conjunction with 
intolerance, cruelty, and selfish policy, has never ceased to 


surprise and perplex those who have viewed it calmly from 
a distance. Constantine, after he had manifested such zeal 
for bishops, and shown the greatest reliance on the efficacy 
of prayer, caused the death of his own son, and his sister's 
husband, and her son, from the fear that they might be- 
come formidable as rivals in the empire. Constantius, 
who was zealous for Christianity, pursued the same course 
with regard to his uncle and cousins. Thcodosius, the 
most pious of them all, was relentless in his persecution of 
seets that differed in the slightest degree from the estab- 
lished church ; and he ordered thousands of innocent peo- 
ple, including women and children, to be slaughtered, to 
gratify his resentment. From that time down to the 
present day, such instances abound ; and it is common to 
explain them by the supposition of deliberate hypocrisy in 
religious professions. But I am convinced that piety to- 
ward God may be perfectly sincere in those who manifest 
great selfishness and violence toward their fellow creatures ; 
because the two results proceed from different elements in 
man's nature, which must be harmoniously proportioned 
and combined to form a consistent religious character ; but 
which, nevertheless, are often disproportioned, and even 
completely separated. Conscientiousness and reverence 
for the supernatural are distinct things ; and either one or 
the other may pred , ^njnate in character. I have known 
exceedingly conscientious and humane people, who would 
be uneasy for days, if they had struck a dog, or given a 
cent too little in change, or uttered an equivocation, who, 
nevertheless, could not be much impressed by the most 
solemn ceremonies of the church, or excited by the most 
fervent preaching. On the other hand, I have known 
extremely devotional people, who wept over the Bible, 
and could not live happily without frequent worship, who 
nevertheless abused animals, and dealt hardly with the 
poor, without being troubled by any degree of the remorse 
they would have felt, if they had fallen asleep for the night 
without uttering a prayer. John Newton was a memora- 
ble example to the point. He wrote in strains of the most 


affecting piety, spent much of his time in reading of Christ, 
and praying to him, and thankfully recorded "sweet sea- 
sons of communion with God," while he was carrying on 
the slave-trade on the coast of Africa. Extreme results of 
a similar nature occur in Italy, where devotional feelings 
are very strong, and moral principles generally flexible. 
Hired assassins will not kill their victim with a dagger 
whose handle is in the form of a cross. A ferocious ban- 
dit, who for a long time had rendered himself formidable 
to the police, was at last taken by means of his own piety. 
It was discovered that he had made a vow to do injury to 
no creature on Saturday; which the church had taught 
him was the birth-day of the Yirgin Mary. They attacked 
him on that day, and as he offered no resistance, he was 
taken and executed ; dying with a prayer on his lips. 

In all ages, such melancholy discrepancies have been 
greatly increased by the tendency of the priesthood to sub- 
stitute theology for religion. This troubled the waters of 
Christianity very near the fountain. Paul was one of the 
greatest and best among the messengers, whom God has 
sent to guide the human race. But he was brought up at 
the feet of a learned Jewish Eabbi, and of course breathed 
a polemical atmosphere. His whole soul was seized by the 
teachings of Christ, and, in his earnestness, he would fain 
have imparted his own faith and hope to all the world. 
But obstacles came in his way. Gentiles demanded a rea- 
son for his faith, and Jews insisted that he should sustain 
his hope by proofs brought from their prophecies and tra- 
ditions. Thus he was forced into perpetual arguments, 
often of a metaphysical character. Christ preached a reli- 
gion ; Paul taught theology. Eeligion does not consist in 
'knowing ; it is a state of feeling. It was not the power of 
doctrines, that brought the Fathers into the church. It was 
a deep interior consciousness of the holiness and beauty 
of Christ's example, and of his pure and gentle teaching. 
This they wished to embody in word and deed, and sow it 
widely in the seed-field of everlasting time. But theology 
encountered this devout consciousness, and piled up in its 
Vol. III.— 38* 


path the antecedent doctrines of the world, with subtle and 
totally unanswerable questions, which, nevertheless, would 
pertinaciously insist upon being answered. Thus the 
Fathers, especially the later ones, were drawn aside from 
religion to theology. Then followed sectarian warfare, 
and stormy councils ; until the dominant church, aided by 
civil power, petrified all thought into formulas, and when 
hungry souls asked for bread, gave them a stone. Men 
who laboured for this result, and exulted in its completion, 
were not necessarily guided by ambition, or selfish policy. 
They were strongly impressed with the idea that to do 
good extensively, the church must be established ; and 
that in order to be established, it must be one and indivisi- 
ble in doctrines. In the process, errors of faith came to be 
regarded as more sinful, than the greatest moral delin- 
quencies. The same stringent rule was applied even to 
external ceremonies. All must observe Easter on the 
same day ; and the Gregorian Chants must be the univer- 
sal standard for church music. In those chants, every 
singer must utter the same tone, in the same key. Unison 
of voices was the highest idea theology could attain to ; but 
when religion can utter itself freely, worshippers sing a 
harmony of many different parts, and thus make music 
more pleasing to the ear of God, and more according to 
the pattern by which he created the universe. 

In all forms of worship, and in all individual souls, reli- 
gion diminishes in the same proportion that theology in- 
creases ; for inquisitive thought always has a tendency to 
separate from the affections, in pursuit of mental abstrac- 
tions. Intellect, in religious matters, has always proved 
like the horses of the Sun under the guidance of Phaeton ; 
rushing wildly among the stars, always descending in its 
course, and finally shattering the chariot, and extinguish- 
ing its warm radiance in the waters of this earth. From 
this frequent example, some draw the inference that it is 
wisest and safest to receive with unquestioning faith the 
opinions others have established ; forgetting that the warmth 
was chilled, and the light well nigh extinguished, in the 


process of becoming established. There is another and a 
better lesson which the experience ought to teach ; namely 
that religion does not consist in doctrines of any kind, but 
in sentiments of reverence toward God, and of justice and 
benevolence toward our fellow men. 

It is impossible to exaggerate the evil work theology has 
done in the world. What destruction of the beautiful 
monuments of past ages, what waste of life, what disturb- 
ance of domestic and social happiness, what perverted feel- 
ings, what blighted hearts, have always marked its baneful 
progress ! How the flowery meadow of childhood has been 
blasted by its lurid fires ! Alas, what a world that was 
for infancy to open its wondering eyes upon, when exor- 
cisms to cast out Devils were murmured over its innocent 
brow! When Pagan priests poured sacrificial wine into 
its tender stomach, and Christian deacons forced open its 
reluctant mouth, to pour in more wine, that the Devil 
might be expelled, which they supposed had taken posses- 
sion of the poor little suffering lamb ! What a spiritual 
atmosphere that was for childhood to breathe, when zeal- 
ous mothers dragged their little ones, with hot haste, to 
the place of martyrdom, and taught them it was sinful to 
be attracted by birds and butterflies on the way ! When 
monks scourged and nearly starved a little boy, to 
test whether his father had become sufficiently holy 
to witness their cruelty without any remains of human 
emotion ! 

Even if nothing worse than wasted mental effort could 
be laid to the charge of theology, that alone ought to be 
sufficient to banish it from the earth, as one of the worst 
enemies of mankind. What a vast amount of labour and 
learning has been expended, as uselessly as emptying shal- 
low puddles into sieves ! How much intellect has been 
employed mousing after texts, to sustain preconceived 
doctrines ! Little or no progress toward truth is usually 
made, because passages of ancient books are taken up hun- 
dreds of years after they were written, and are used in a 
sense altogether foreign from the original intention, in 


order to sustain some opinion, or tradition of the then pre- 
sent time. Ami the human mind is not lefl free to pursue 
even this distorting process; but collej ipervisors 

are appointed to instruct the young in what light every- 
thing ought to be viewed. One college covers the eyes of 
all its students with red spectacles, so that every object 
seems on fire. Another insists that blue spectacles are the 
only proper medium ; consequently its pupils maintain 
that all creation is ghastly pale. Whereupon red specta- 
cles rush to battle with blue spectacles, to prove that the 
whole landscape is flame-coloured. If one who uses hi3 
natural eyesight comes between them, and says, ever so 
gently: "Nay, my friends, you are both mistaken. The 
meadows are of an emerald green, and the sunshine is 
golden," he is rudely shoved aside, as an heretic, or an infi- 
del. One party calls out to him: "Did you ever look at 
the landscape through red spectacles ?" Another shouts : 
" Did you ever examine it by the only right method, which 
is through blue spectacles ?" And if he cannot answer in 
the affirmative, they both vociferate : " Then you had bet- 
ter keep silence ; for you are altogether incapable of form- 
ing a correct opinion on the subject." 

Alas, what millions of men have been thus employed, 
in all countries, ever since the world began! What a 
blooming paradise would the whole earth be, if the same 
amount of intellect, labour, and zeal, had been expended 
on science, agriculture, and the arts! Polemical contro- 
versy must necessarily be useless, even if it were nothing 
worse ; because it is always striving to settle infinite ques- 
tions by the exercise of finite faculties. In this stage of 
existence, our Heavenly Father obviously intends that we 
should know very little concerning the destiny of our own 
souls, and their relations with Him and the universe. This 
inevitable limitation of our vision should teach us a lesson 
of humility with regard to our own views, and of respect- 
ful tenderness toward those of others. It is our duty to 
wait with hope and faith for the withdrawal of the screen, 
and to be thankful, meanwhile, that there are bright edges 


of light around the veil of the sanctuary, which give assu- 
rance of a glorious presence within. 

Thousands of years ago, hermits in Hindostan inquired 
earnestly: "How does God exist? And whence came 
Evil ?" And up to this day, there has been no approach 
made toward solving the problems. Here, we come up 
against the walls of limitation, with which the All Wise 
has circumscribed our vision. The answers to such queries 
are above finite comprehension. We cannot attain unto 
them ; as the most sagacious elephant can never measure the 
distances of the stars, or calculate the return of the moon, 
though their solemn brightness may impress and overawe 
him, as vague conceptions of the Deity affect our own souls. 

A wondrous want of faith in truth is constantly mani- 
fested by the jealous pains men take to regulate and con- 
trol all inquiry into established formulas. The old writer 
Ludovicus Vives tells the story of a peasant who thought 
his donkey had drunk up the moon. Therefore, he killed 
the poor animal, in order to restore that luminary ; think- 
ing the world stood in much need of its light. Thus has 
bigotry, in its folly and madness, slain many a one, who 
was merely allaying spiritual thirst, by drinking from a 
pail of water, which reflected some beams of the moon, 
while the great planet itself serenely floated over all, and 
was reflected in a thousand streams. In the narrowness 
of our ignorance, we have been forever striving to limit 
the All Father's love. Hindoos thought themselves the 
sole depositaries of truth. Jews did the same. Christians, 
in their turn, denounced all but themselves, as " heathen," 
and " murderers of Christ," who must unavoidably burn in 
eternal fire. But while these successively asserted their 
exclusive claims, the Heavenly Father was lovingly and 
wisely guiding all, and renewing all. As no individual 
can monopolize sunshine, or water, so no nation, or sect, 
can appropriate to itself God's love or truth. If they think 
they have drunk up the sun, they are mistaken donkeys, 
who had but a dim reflection of it in their own small 


One of the most beautiful and sublime aspects of Divine 
Providence is the ethereal and mfmite nature of all lii.L r h 
truths and holy feelings. Religion, like music, cannot be 
compelled to express anything bad. Whatever words arc- 
appropriated to a tune, the tones preserve their purity. If 
there is evil done, the language must do it; the divine 
element of music has no share in the degrading office. A 
rough voice may mar its sweetness, a false ear may confuse 
the measure ; but the true ear, that listens, perceives the 
inherent beauty, and the clear voice repeats it. In vain 
have theologians set rancorous words to a gentle tune. 
The spirit of Christ's teaching eludes their efforts ; as he 
nimself passed through the midst of those who would seize 
him, and went his way. Churches may anathematize each 
other ; but above their discordant utterance, penitents hear 
the consoling voices of Mary Magdalen and the Prodigal 
Son, and the dying beggar smiles while he hears Lazarus 
call him to the gates of heaven. 

It is true that mere theological tenets may do much and 
prolonged mischief. The abstract idea that Matter was the 
origin of Evil has produced an immense amount of physi- 
cal and moral disease in the world. Thousands and thou- 
sands have starved and lacerated their bodies, and stifled 
the kindliest emotions of human nature, in consequence of 
it. For centuries, it changed the entire social system, by 
banishing a very large proportion of men and women into 
convents. The influence of it to this day infects our ideas 
of love and marriag*e. A spiritual-minded woman once 
confessed to me she was greatly shocked by the news that 
Dr. Channing was about to be married; "because she had 
always considered him such a saint." The old Hindoo 
idea was lurking there, in the extremest form of Protes- 

But even the most repulsive and fantastic forms of the- 
ology often embodied a high idea. The rage for celibacy, 
which prevailed at one period of the world, was an exces- 
sive reaction from the tendency to bury the soul in mate- 
rial things ; thus making the body a sepulchre instead of a 


temple, or a pleasant house. Augustine's doctrine, that a 
Christian should be willing to be damned for the glory of 
God, was only a very extreme form of expressing the beau- 
tiful idea of self-renunciation. The complicated Gnostic 
theories concerning Christ's derivation from the Supreme 
Being, through successive emanations, were but the utter- 
ance of the heart, stammering its homage through the im- 
perfect medium of the intellect. Their wild poetic myths 
about Ennoia and Sophia Achamoth are obviously intended 
to represent the human soul, aspiring after the beautiful 
and the true, but snared by the temptations of life, chained 
by its necessities, mournfully conscious of its own degrada- 
tion, forever striving to raise its fettered wings, and im- 
ploring aid from Higher Powers, to soar toward pure 
spiritual regions. Al Sirat, the hair-breadth bridge over 
flames of hell, placed before the entrance of Paradise, con- 
veys to spiritual-minded Moslems a true picture of our 
earthly pilgrimage, where all human souls need good an- 
gels to help them across narrow bridges over gulfs of fire. 
Always there is a saving power at work to guard the 
inner life from destruction. We are told that when Job 
was delivered to Satan, God stipulated that he should 
spare his life. The same reservation is made with regard 
to human hearts when they are made over to theology to 
be tormented. Human affections were given up to monas- 
teries, to deal with them as they would; but kill them 
utterly they could not. Some vestiges of natural feeling 
remained in monks, and took refuge behind their conse- 
crated symbols. Pictures of the " Queen of Heaven " often 
glowed with the sunlight of woman's tenderness, and fra- 
grant memories of mothers and sisters were breathed around 
them, mingled at times with gentle visions of a wife that 
might have been. With all their stern stifling of nature, 
I doubt whether they could have worshipped the image of 
a man with such tender reverence. Nuns also, however 
orthodox their belief concerning original sin, and the un- 
holiness of marriage, were doubtless attracted toward infant 
innocence in those pictures, and loved the child in that 


mother's arms, not always as an incarnated God, but as a 
human babe. In their visions of a spiritual bridegroom, 
nature sometimes mingled with grace, though the feeling 
lay concealed from their consciousness under a mystic veil. 
This is very observable in the ecstatic language of St. The- 
resa, concerning her union with Christ; portions of which 
would not have been altogether inappropriate, if addressed 
by Eloise to Abelard. 

Even in the external observances and arbitrary power 
of the church there were many compensating influences. 
Images and pictures abounded, as they did in Pagan tem- 
ples ; but the idea they embodied was on a higher plane. 
Philosophers adored Beauty and Power in the statues of 
their gods. Christians venerated Purity, Gentleness, and 
Benevolence, in images of the Virgin and her Son. What- 
ever condition of things grows out of a certain state of 
society, must necessarily be in some degree best adapted 
to that state. Such a bishop as Ambrose could not rise up 
in England, or the United States. Obedience to such an 
one would be altogether a retrograde movement in society. 
But under the irresponsible despotism of Eoman emperors, 
it was a positive blessing to mankind to have the civil 
power restrained by reverence for the ecclesiastical. The 
public penance imposed on the emperor Theodosius, for an 
act of barbarous injustice to the populace, was a salutary 
lesson to kings ; and that a bishop was moved to do it, 
proved the increasing importance of the people's cause. 
The agents of Christianity, even when grasping at wealth 
and power, were employed by Providence to advance a 
democratic principle in the world, though they were gene- 
rally unconscious agents. The universal custom of be- 
queathing large estates to the church did an immense 
amount of evil, in many ways. It encouraged men in the 
selfish and indolent idea of sinning while life and health 
lasted, and then purchasing salvation with money ; it de- 
frauded rightful heirs ; and it rendered the church inordi- 
nately powerful, arrogant, and avaricious. But even this 
practice had some good results. To a considerable degree, 


monks were conveyancers of the wealth of rich robbers to 
the defrauded poor; for monasteries were asylums for 
homeless orphans and wandering beggars, hospitals for 
indigent invalids, and resting places for travellers. The 
old barriers of rank were likewise broken down by monas- 
ticism. Chrysostom, urging people to embrace it, says: 
" Even the sons of peasants and artificers, who enter this 
state of life, become so revered, that the first of the land 
are not ashamed to visit their cells, and consider it an 
honour to converse with them." 

To a liberal soul, it is pleasant to find indications that, 
in the midst of fiercest controversy, the spirit of Christian- 
ity had not departed from the churches, and was not con- 
fined to them; that some, of all classes, paid voluntary 
homage to the good and the true. It is consoling to read 
of Christians, who thought Socrates and Plato might have 
been inspired by a portion of the Logos ; and of Platonists, 
who acknowledged Jesus was one of the divine messengers 
sent by God to men. It is a beautiful picture, that of 
Christians in Carthage, risking their lives to tend Pagans 
smitten with the pestilence ; and of Christians in Nicome- 
dia, throwing open their granaries in time of famine, to 
feed the hungry multitude of unbelievers. It is cheering 
to read of Pagan magistrates, who evaded the laws, or 
stretched them to the utmost, to avoid inflicting penalties, 
and who were accustomed to give secret warning to Chris- 
tians in time of danger. It makes one in love with human 
nature, to find Roman citizens refusing to be bound by the 
laws, during Diocletian's persecution, and acting from a 
higher law in their own hearts, which led them to risk 
their own property and personal safety, rather than betray 
fugitives, who had taken refuge with them. It is encou- 
raging to all who wish to break down partition walls, to 
hear the orator Libanius pleading so earnestly in behalf of 
persecuted Christians, who had shown moderation in their 
day of power. It is touching to hear the much-wronged 
Israelites uniting their voices with Christians in Psalms of 
lamentation, at the funerals of good bishops. These things 
Vol. III.— 39 v 


convey instructive lessons, which the world would do wisely 
to take to heart; for though nearly two thousand years 
have rolled away since the introduction of Christianity, 
men have not yet learned to view each other's religions 
with justice and candour. 

While contending about the divinity of Christ's person, 
the divinity of his example has been comparatively ne- 
glected. The only real point of union for mankind, is in 
the acknowledgment of great moral principles. The the- 
ology of all religions is something extraneous and imper- 
fect, which took shape from previous opinions, and peculiar 
circumstances of the time. It is, therefore, necessarily sub- 
ject to change, and destined to pass away. But there is no 
occasion for alarm lest changes should come before the way 
is prepared for them. Conservatives may console them- 
selves with Carlyle's wise remark : " The old skin never 
falls off, till a new one has formed under it." We may 
safely trust the preservation of truth to Him who guides 
the stars. Every particle of genuine life, contained within 
decaying forms of thought, will fall like ripe seed from a 
withered stem, and produce fresh plants, which will gradu- 
ally develop with the progress of man, and ripen into 
spiritual flowers and fruit of more perfected varieties, than 
any the world has yet seen. The present forms of Chris- 
tianity will vanish, and become traditional records, in the 
lapse of ages ; but all that really makes it a religion will 
remain forever. As long as there are human souls, they 
will acknowledge Christ as a Son of God. Not because 
councils have decreed it ; but because they will find in his 
example and precepts what they most desire to be, in their 
highest states of aspiration, when they are most filled with 
reverence for God, with compassion for the sufferings and 
faults of their fellow creatures, and with humility in view 
of their own deficiences. Because Jesus taught mankind 
to cast out the Demon Penalty, by means of the Angel 
Attraction, therefore shall all the ages honour and bless 
him. His precepts will be more and more venerated, the 
more they are examined in their own pure light, the more 


they are compared with other systems, and especially the 
more they are practised. Whether another great teacher 
will ever be sent to help us still further onward, it will be 
time enough to inquire when Christendom begins, in good 
earnest, to try the experiment of practical conformity to 
his religion. He has uttered the great diapason tone which 
would bring all discords into harmony. If only one na- 
tion would conscientiously obey his laws, in her internal 
and external regulations, she would be lifted up, and draw 
all the nations unto her. War and slavery, the gallows 
and prisons, would disappear from the earth. No miracles 
recorded in the wildest legends of the Middle Ages equal 
the power of Christian Faith to cast out Evil Spirits. No 
prophecies of a blissful future are too golden to describe 
the sunshine of universal Love. 

On each individual soul devolves the duty of helping to 
produce this sublime result ; and this can be done only by 
reverent obedience to inward convictions. God has not 
made conscience an infallible pope, to decide what is right 
or wrong, true or false ; therefore, the most conscientious 
men may conform to a very imperfect, or even a wrong 
standard, on some subjects, while they adopt a very high 
standard with regard to others. This has been the case 
in all ages and countries, and under all forms of reli- 
gion. It cannot be otherwise with beings who are formed 
by influences from two worlds. But it is an established 
law of our being that disobedience to our own consciences 
darkens the condition of our souls ; while sincere reverence 
for that inward voice brings us gradually into greater and 
greater light. In this way, individuals who are true to 
their own convictions are always helping the public con- 
science to rise to a higher plane. A large majority of men, 
in all ages, are guided almost entirely by popular opinion ; 
and that opinion derives its power of growth from indi- 
viduals, who become mediums of Divine influence, by fear- 
less obedience to their own internal light. The heroic old 
monk, who rushed into the amphitheatre to separate two 
gladiators, commanded to murder for the amusement of the 


Roman populace, was put to death for obeying Lis own 
conscience, more enlightened than that of the people; but 
his voice afterward became the public voice, and gladiato- 
rial combats were forbidden by law. Clarkson incurred 
much odium and persecution by denouncing a traffic, sanc- 
tioned by all the merchants of his time, licensed by the 
government, and not rebuked by the clergy; but even- 
tually, the public conscience rose to his level, and Christian 
nations thenceforth branded the slave-trade as piracy. Once 
thoroughly impressed with the utter wickedness of the 
trade, he naturally came to the conclusion that a system 
originating in such monstrous violation of justice and hu- 
manity must also be wrong. His earnestness influenced 
other minds. Elizabeth Hey rick learned from them, and, 
with woman's spontaneous insight of the heart, added that 
if slavery was wrong, immediate and entire cessation from 
it was the only right way. The interior perceptions of 
these honest souls, fearlessly proclaimed, became the moral 
sentiment of the British nation ; as they eventually will be 
of the whole world. In every village, there are a few indi- 
viduals striving, on some subject or other, to live up to a 
standard higher than the community around them. Their 
truthful natures yield to a strong conviction that their own 
consciences ought to be obeyed, whatever men may say. 
Very often they see no further than this ; and continue to 
labour, year after year, uncheered by hopes of changing 
the current of public opinion. But though they know it 
not, they are working for the ages. Each, in his own way, 
is a medium of the Holy Spirit. 

While sincere and earnest individuals raise the standard 
of their own times, the age, improved by their efforts, edu- 
cates other individuals, who, being thus raised to a higher 
point of view, can command a more extended vision than 
their predecessors. By obedience to a law within them- 
selves, above the existing laws of society, such individuals 
help to raise the moral standard of succeeding ages to a 
plane still more elevated. By this mutual action and re- 
action between the public and private conscience, the world 


is slowly rolled onward toward its long-promised Golden 
Age. It is a glorious privilege to help it forward, even 
the hundredth part of an inch. It is a fearful responsibility 
to retard it, even a hair's breadth. Every one of us can 
aid in the great work, if we always look inward for our 
guide, and follow the voice of conscience, which to each 
one of us is truly the law of God. 

" Reverence for what's oldest, truest, 
Friendly welcome to the newest ; 
Cheerful heart and purpose pure, 
So our onward way is sure." 


The Works of Sir William Jones. 

Ramohun Roy's Translation of the 

Heeren's Historical Researches. 

Maurice's History of Hindostan. 

Ramsay's Natural and Revealed Reli- 

Pnestly's Institutes. 

La Vie Contemplative, Ascetique, et 
Monastique, chez les Indous et les 
Bouddhistes. Par J. J. Boch- 

Oriental Memoirs. By Sir James 

Journal of a Residence in India. By 
Bishop Heber. 


Ancient Egyptians. By Sir J. Wilkin- 

Egypt's Place in Universal History. 
By C. J. Bunsen. 

Dei ion's Travels in Egypt. 

Belzoni's Travels in Egypt. 

Eastern Lands, Past and Present. By 
Harriet Marti neau. 

Nineveh and its Remains. By Layard. 

The Zend-Avesta. Translated into 
French. By Anquitil du Perron. 

Confucius et Mencius. Par M. G. 

Chinese Classics. By Rev. David 

Puhulde's China. 

Travels in Tartary, Thibet, and China. 
By M. Hue. 

Plato. Translated by Taylor. 

Sewall's Plato. 

Potter's Antiquities of Greece. 

Wordsworth's Greece. 




Classical Museum. 

Mayo's New System of Mythology. 

Enfield's History of Philosophy. 

Gray's Classical Ages. 

Priestly's Philosophers. 

Cicero Concerning the Nature of the 

Dictionary of Greek and Roman My- 
thology. By Dr. W. M. Smith. 

Smith's Classical Dictionary. 

Prideaux's History of the Old and New 

History of the Hebrew Monarchy. By 
Rev. Francis Newman. 

De Wette on the Old and New Testa- 
ment. Translated by Theodore Par- 

History of the Jews. By Josephus. 

Lewis's History of the Hebrew Re- 

Warburton'sDivine Legation of Moses. 

Herder on Hebrew Poetry. 

Milman's History of the Jews. 

Mackay's Progress of the Intellect. 

Library of the Fathers. Translated 
bv members of the English church. 

Book of the Fathers. 

The Fathers of the Desert. By Henry 

Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and 
Saints. By Rev. Alban Butler. 

Life of St. Chrysostom. Translated 
from the German of Dr. Neander 
by Rev. J. C. Stapleton. 

Confessions of St. Augustine. Re- 
vised by Rev. E. B. Pusey. 

Life of St. Anthony. From the Greek 
of St. Athanasius. Translated by 
Henry Ruffner. 

Life of St. Hilarion. From the Latin 
of St. Jerome. Translated by Henry 



Life of St. Paul tho Simple From 

Tillemont'a Ecclesiastical History. 

Translated bj Henry Ruffner. 
Histoire de la We're de Dieu. Par M. 

L'Abbe* Orsini. 
Ecclesiastical History. By Eusebius. 
M">li' iastioal History, 

im's Hinton of the church. 
Cave's Primitive Christianity. 
Le Christianisme et L'Esclavage. Far 

M. L'Abbe* Therou. 
History of the Christian K6iigion. By 

Dr. Neander. Translated from the 

German, by Joseph Torrey. 
History of Christianity. ByDr.Milman. 
History of Early Opinions concerning 

Jesus Christ. By Dr. Friestly. 
A Free Inquiry into the Miraculous 

Powers of the Christian Church. By 

Dr. Conycrs Middleton. 
A Free Inquiry into the Authenticity 

of the First Chapters of Matthew. 

By John Williams, LL. D. 

Butler's Hone Bibliac. 

Gibbon's History of the Decline and 

Fall of the Roman Empire. 
The Apocrypha] New Testament. 
Life of ApolloniuB. Translated from 

the Greek of Philostratus, bj Rev. 

Edward Berwick. 
; The Two First Books of Philostratus 

concerning Apollonius. Translated 

by Charles Blount. 
i Histoire Critique da Gnosticisme. Par 

M. Jaoque Matter. 
Histoire de L'Ecolo D'Alexandric. 

Par M. Jules Simon. 
Sale's Translation of the Koran. 
Life and Religion of Mohammed, as 

contained in the Hyat ul Kuloob. 
Mohammedan Akhlak i Jalaly. 
Bayle's Dictionary. 
Conversations Lexicon. 
Biblical Legends of the Musulmans. 

By Dr. G. Weil. 


Abraham, vol. i., page 381 to 386. 
Absorption into the Divine Being — 

Hindoo, i., 6, 8, 10, 23, 37, 42, 76. 

Buddhist, i., 85, 87, 229, 246. 

Gnostic, ii., 241. 

New Platonic, ii., 421. 

Christian, iii., 248. 

Mohammedan, iii., 408. 
Abyssinians, iii., 347. 
Acts, the Book of. iii., 310. 
Adam Kadman, ii., 74, 99, 158, 219, 

330, 338, 402, 403; iii., 81, 264, 331. 
Adam, the First and the Second, ii., 74, 

99, 158, 330, 338. 
Adam's paradise existing, ii., 326 ; iii., 

146, 390. 
Adcodatus, iii., 125, 127. 
Adrian, ii., 248. 
Agape, ii., 357 ; iii., 190. 
Alexandria, i., 195 ; ii., 378. 
Alexandrian Library — 

founded, i., 197. 

Eillaged by Christians, iii., 87. 
urnt by Mohammedans, iii., 414. 
Allegorical Interpretation of Sacred 

Books, ii., 179 ; iii., 432. 

Hindoo i., 134, 135. 

Grecian i., 357 ; ii., 424. 

Jewish ii., 67, 72, 179, 213, 333. 

Christian ii., 332 ; iii., 147, 329, 443. 
Ali, iii., 358, 359, 396, 400, 404. 
Ambrose, iii., 96, 109, 203, 268. 

Hindoo, i., 122. 

Egyptian, i., 193. 

Chinese, i., 214. 

Buddhist, i., 230, 249. 

Persian, i., 277. 

Grecian, i., 293,328. 

Jewish, ii., 55. 

Christian, ii., 272, 321, 343 ; iii., 5, 
143,180, 288. 
Amun, or Jupiter Ammon, i., 149. 

Anaxagoras, i., 343. 
AxNcestors, the Souls of — 

Hindoo, i., 19. 

Egyptian, i., 170. 

Chinese, i., 203. 

Buddhist, i., 231. 

Persian, i., 271, 277. 

Grecian, i., 293 ; iii., 134. 

Christian, ii., 322 to 324 ; iii., 134, 
Angels — 

visits of, i., 387, 416. 

belief in, ii., 42, 86, 140, 302 ; iii., 
158, 187. 

in love with women, ii., 217, 313 ; 
iii., 128. 
Animals — 

before the Fall, ii., 331 ; iii., 146. 

Asiatic tenderness toward, i., 11, 
115, 227, 249 ; iii., 437. 

Sacred, i., 114 to 116 ; 176 to 180. 

Symbolic, i., 179 ; ii., 181 ; iii., 289. 
Animal Magnetism — 

remarks on, ii., 176 ; iii., 445. 

Hindoo, i., 6, 122. 

Earyptian, i., 165. 

Grecian, i., 300, 314, 315, 320. 

New Platonic, ii., 432. 

Christian, iii., 25. 
Anthony, St., iii., 215. 
Anthusa, iii., Ill, 171. 
Antiochus persecutes the Jews, ii. 

Antiquity — 

of Hindostan, L, 2. 

of Egypt, L, 145, 148, 188; ii., 154. 

of China, i., 199. 

of Chaldea, i., 252. 

of Hebrew religion, ii., 366; iii., 394 

of Christianity, ii, 366; iii., 258. 
Antoninus Pius, ii., 250. 
Apis, i., 177. 
Apocalypse, iii., 310, 314. 



Apocryphal, Books — 

Jewish, ii., 126; Hi., 295, 296, 800. 

Christian, iii., 295. 
ApoUinaris, ii., 278. 
Apollinarians, iii., 45. 
Apolloniaa, ii., 221 to 288. 
Apostles — 

days of the, ii., 185 to 210. 

creed, iii., 333. 
Apostolical Canons, iii., 338. 
Apotheosis — 

Roman, L, 372. 

Christian, iii., 293. 
Arabia, the ancient customs of, Hi., 3